Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 nations, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal.
The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play and only in their penalty area. Outfield players mostly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use their head or torso to do so instead. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time and/or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition.
The Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which organizes World Cups for both men and women every four years.
According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju (蹴鞠, literally "kick ball") is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence. Cuju players could use any of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to modern football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), cuju games were standardized and rules were established.
The Chinese competitive game cuju (literally kick ball) is the earliest form of football
Phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup. Athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence. They all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified "mob football", the antecedent of all modern football codes, these three games involved more handling the ball than kicking. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia.
Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other ball games played around the world FIFA have recognized that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of association football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardize the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England. The history of football in England dates back to at least the eighth century AD.
The Cambridge Rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were particularly influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester and Shrewsbury schools. They were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football. Some came up with their own distinct codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield Football Club, formed by former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of a Sheffield FA in 1867. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School also devised an influential set of rules.
These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association (The FA) in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was Charterhouse. The Freemason's Tavern was the setting for five more meetings between October and December, which eventually produced the first comprehensive set of rules. At the final meeting, the first FA treasurer, the representative from Blackheath, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting: the first allowed for running with the ball in hand; the second for obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA and instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The eleven remaining clubs, under the charge of Ebenezer Cobb Morley, went on to ratify the original thirteen laws of the game. These rules included handling of the ball by "marks" and the lack of a crossbar, rules which made it remarkably similar to Victorian rules football being developed at that time in Australia. The Sheffield FA played by its own rules until the 1870s with the FA absorbing some of its rules until there was little difference between the games.
The world's oldest football competition is the FA Cup, which was founded by C. W. Alcock and has been contested by English teams since 1872. The first official international football match also took place in 1872, between Scotland and England in Glasgow, again at the instigation of C. W. Alcock. England is also home to the world's first football league, which was founded in Birmingham in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. The original format contained 12 clubs from the Midlands and Northern England.
The laws of the game are determined by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The Board was formed in 1886 after a meeting in Manchester of The Football Association, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, and the Irish Football Association. FIFA, the international football body, was formed in Paris in 1904 and declared that they would adhere to Laws of the Game of the Football Association. The growing popularity of the international game led to the admittance of FIFA representatives to the International Football Association Board in 1913. The board consists of four representatives from FIFA and one representative from each of the four British associations.
Today, football is played at a professional level all over the world. Millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favourite teams, while billions more watch the game on television or on the internet. A very large number of people also play football at an amateur level. According to a survey conducted by FIFA published in 2001, over 240 million people from more than 200 countries regularly play football. Football has the highest global television audience in sport.
In many parts of the world football evokes great passions and plays an important role in the life of individual fans, local communities, and even nations. R. Kapuscinski says that Europeans who are polite, modest, or humble fall easily into rage when playing or watching football games. The Côte d'Ivoire national football team helped secure a truce to the nation's civil war in 2006 and it helped further reduce tensions between government and rebel forces in 2007 by playing a match in the rebel capital of Bouaké, an occasion that brought both armies together peacefully for the first time. By contrast, football is widely considered to have been the final proximate cause for the Football War in June 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras. The sport also exacerbated tensions at the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, when a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade degenerated into rioting in May 1990.
Women's association football
Early women's football
Women may have been playing "football" for as long as the game has existed. Evidence shows that an ancient version of the game (Tsu Chu) was played by women during the Han Dynasty (25–220 CE). Two female figures are depicted in Han Dynasty (25–220 CE) frescoes, playing Tsu Chu. There are, however, a number of opinions about the accuracy of dates, the earliest estimates at 5000 BCE. Reports of an annual match being played in Scotland are reported as early as the 1790s. The first match recorded by the Scottish Football Association took place in 1892 in Glasgow. In England, the first recorded game of football between women took place in 1895.
Association football, the modern game, also has documented early involvement of women. In Europe, it is possible that 12th-century French women played football as part of that era's folk games. An annual competition in Mid-Lothian, Scotland during the 1790s is reported, too. In 1863, football governing bodies introduced standardized rules to prohibit violence on the pitch, making it more socially acceptable for women to play.
The most well-documented early European team was founded by activist Nettie Honeyball in England in 1894. It was named the British Ladies' Football Club. Nettie Honeyball is quoted, "I founded the association late last year , with the fixed resolve of proving to the world that women are not the 'ornamental and useless' creatures men have pictured. I must confess, my convictions on all matters where the sexes are so widely divided are all on the side of emancipation, and I look forward to the time when ladies may sit in Parliament and have a voice in the direction of affairs, especially those which concern them most." Honeyball and those like her paved the way for women's football. However the women's game was frowned upon by the British football associations, and continued without their support. It has been suggested that this was motivated by a perceived threat to the 'masculinity' of the game.
Women's football became popular on a large scale at the time of the First World War, when employment in heavy industry spurred the growth of the game, much as it had done for men fifty years earlier. The most successful team of the era was Dick, Kerr's Ladies of Preston, England. The team played in the first women's international matches in 1920, against a team from Paris, France, in April, and also made up most of the England team against a Scottish Ladies XI in 1920, and winning 22-0.
Despite being more popular than some men's football events (one match saw a 53,000 strong crowd), women's football in England suffered a blow in 1921 when The Football Association outlawed the playing of the game on Association members' pitches, on the grounds that the game (as played by women) was distasteful. Some speculated that this may have also been to envy of the large crowds that women's matches attracted. This led to the formation of the English Ladies Football Association and play moved to rugby grounds.
Association football has been played by women since at least the time of the first recorded women's games in the late 19th century. It has traditionally been associated with charity games and physical exercise, particularly in the United Kingdom. In the late 1960s and early 1970s women's association football was organized in the United Kingdom, eventually becoming the most prominent team sport for British women.
20th and 21st century
The growth in women's football has seen major competitions being launched at both national and international level mirroring the male competitions. Women's football has faced many struggles. It had a "golden age" in the United Kingdom in the early 1920s when crowds reached 50,000 at some matches; this was stopped on 5 December 1921 when England's Football Association voted to ban the game from grounds used by its member clubs. The FA's ban was rescinded in December 1969 with UEFA voting to officially recognize women's football in 1971. The FIFA Women's World Cup was inaugurated in 1991 and has been held every four years since, while women's football has been an Olympic event since 1996.
The recognized international governing body of football (and associated games, such as futsal and beach soccer) is FIFA. The FIFA headquarters are located in Zürich, Switzerland. Six regional confederations are associated with FIFA; these are:
- Asia: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
- Africa: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
- Europe: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
- North/Central America & Caribbean: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
- Oceania: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
- South America: Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol/Confederação Sul-americana de Futebol (South American Football Confederation; CONMEBOL)
National associations oversee football within individual countries. These are generally synonymous with sovereign states, (for example: the Fédération Camerounaise de Football in Cameroon) but also include a smaller number of associations responsible for sub-national entities or autonomous regions (for example the Scottish Football Association in Scotland). 209 national associations are affiliated both with FIFA and with their respective continental confederations.
While FIFA is responsible for arranging competitions and most rules related to international competition, the actual Laws of the Game are set by the International Football Association Board, where each of the UK Associations has one vote, while FIFA collectively has four votes.
Headquarters of FIFA the world governing body of football
Headquarters of FIFA the world governing body of football
( Click image to enlarge)
The major international competition in football is the World Cup, organized by FIFA. This competition takes place every four years. Approximately 190–200 national teams compete in qualifying tournaments within the scope of continental confederations for a place in the finals. The finals tournament, which is held every four years, involves 32 national teams competing over a four-week period. The most recent edition of the tournament was the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
There has been a football tournament at every Summer Olympic Games since 1900, except at the 1932 games in Los Angeles. Before the inception of the World Cup, the Olympics (especially during the 1920s) had the same status as the World Cup. Originally, the event was for amateurs only; however, since the 1984 Summer Olympics, professional players have been permitted, albeit with certain restrictions which prevent countries from fielding their strongest sides. The Olympic men's tournament is played at Under-23 level. In the past the Olympics have allowed a restricted number of over-age players per team. A women's tournament was added in 1996; in contrast to the men's event, full international sides without age restrictions play the women's Olympic tournament.
After the World Cup, the most important international football competitions are the continental championships, which are organized by each continental confederation and contested between national teams. These are the European Championship (UEFA), the Copa América (CONMEBOL), African Cup of Nations (CAF), the Asian Cup (AFC), the CONCACAF Gold Cup (CONCACAF) and the OFC Nations Cup (OFC). The FIFA Confederations Cup is contested by the winners of all six continental championships, the current FIFA World Cup champions and the country which is hosting the Confederations Cup. This is generally regarded as a warm-up tournament for the upcoming FIFA World Cup and does not carry the same prestige as the World Cup itself. The most prestigious competitions in club football are the respective continental championships, which are generally contested between national champions, for example the UEFA Champions League in Europe and the Copa Libertadores in South America. The winners of each continental competition contest the FIFA Club World Cup.
Soccer | Football
The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play and only in their penalty area. Outfield players mostly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use their head or torso to do so instead. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. The Laws of the Game are the codified rules that help define association football. They are the only rules of association football subscribed to by the sport's governing body FIFA.
Gameplay: Two teams of eleven players each compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts and under the bar), thereby scoring a goal. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals then the game is a draw.
Players: Each team consists of a maximum of eleven players (excluding substitutes), one of whom must be the goalkeeper.
Referee: Is the person responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game during the course of a match.
Assistant referee: The assistant referee's duties generally consist of judging when the ball has left the field of play.
Equipment: The basic equipment or kit players are required to wear includes a shirt, shorts, socks, footwear and adequate shin guards.
Game duration: A standard adult football match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play.
Misconduct (Foul): Fouls and misconduct in football/soccer are acts committed by players which are deemed by the referee to be unfair and are subsequently penalized.
Positions: A team is made up of one goalkeeper and ten outfield players who fill various defensive, midfield, and attacking positions depending on the formation deployed.
Player styles: Most players will play in a limited range of positions throughout their career, as each position requires a particular set of skills and physical attributes.
Formations: The formation describes how the players in a team are positioned on the pitch. Different formations can be used depending on whether a team wishes to play more attacking or defensive football.
Tactics and skills: Well-organized and well-prepared teams are often seen beating teams with supposedly more skillful players, even over time.
Advanced skills: There are various individual skills and team tactics needed to play effective football.
In the sport, each of the 11 players on a team is assigned to a particular position on the field of play. A team is made up of one goalkeeper and ten outfield players who fill various defensive, midfield, and attacking positions depending on the formation deployed. These positions describe both the player's main role and their area of operation on the pitch.
Goalkeeper: Goalkeeper, often shortened to keeper or goalie, is one of the major positions of association football.
Centre-back: The job of the centre-back is to stop opposing players, particularly the strikers, from scoring, and to bring the ball out from their penalty area.
Sweeper: The sweeper is a defensive position in football, so called because their job is to 'sweep up' any attacking moves which pass other defenders.
Full-back: The full-backs take up the holding wide positions and traditionally stayed in defense at all times, until a set-piece.
Wing-back: The wing-back (or attacking full-back) are defenders with heavier emphasis on attack.
Centre midfield: Central midfielders provide a link between defense and attack, fulfilling a number of duties and operating primarily in the middle third of the pitch.
Defensive midfield: A defensive midfielder is a central midfielder who is stationed in front of the defenders to provide more defensive protection, thus "holding back" when the rest of the midfield supports the attack.
Attacking midfield: An attacking midfielder is a midfield player who is positioned in an advanced midfield position, usually between central midfield and the team's forwards, and who has a primarily offensive role.
Wide midfield: Is a midfielder who is stationed to the left or right of central midfield.
Centre forward: A centre forward (main striker) has the key task of scoring goals and for this reason acts as the focal point of the majority of attacking play by a team.
Second striker: They are required to be more "nippy", quick, mobile, and skillful, helping to create goals and scoring opportunities for centre forwards.
Winger: Is an attacking player who is stationed in a wide position near the touchlines.
Soccer | Football
The goalkeepers are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play and only in their penalty area. Outfield players mostly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use their head or torso to do so instead. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins.
The Laws of the Game are the codified rules that help define association football. They are the only rules of association football subscribed to by the sport's governing body FIFA.
- Assistant referee
- Game duration
- Misconduct (Foul)
- Player styles
- Tactics and skills
- Advanced skills
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Association football", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.