The origin of soccer/football dates back to about 2,000-3,000 years ago and is associated with China, Rome, Greece, and Central America (Goldblatt, 2008). Football was transitioned by England through the creation of rules that are still used to govern it today. Initially, rules were few but as the game evolved, more were created. Football gradually morphed from a recreation activity into a lucrative business and a competitive sport that is recognized globally (Orejan, 2011).
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Football is played between two teams on a field with two goals at each end. The aim is to score more than the opponent to win. Each team comprises eleven players who occupy different positions on opposite sides of the field (Goldblatt, 2008). Standard playtime for a single session is 45 minutes and an entire game consists of two sessions. Therefore, a whole game lasts for 90 minutes (Orejan, 2011). Many recognized bodies oversee football in different regions.
The main governing body is FIFA and its main role is to organize and promote international football tournaments (Goldblatt, 2008). Regional confederations that work together with FIFA include Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Each country has an association that oversees football activities within its borders (Goldblatt, 2008).
The sport is governed by 17 laws that are contained in the official Laws of the Game published by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) (Orejan, 2011). Each law contains guidelines that direct the actions and behaviors of players on and off the field. Players are barred from touching the ball using their hands. However, the goalkeeper can do so, but only in the penalty area (Orejan, 2011). Outfield players use their legs, heads, and torso to kick or pass the ball. If the teams’ scores are equal, the referee either declares the game a draw or gives both teams additional time. Penalty kicks are given if a player is fouled within the penalty area or if two teams draw and a winner has to be announced.
Fouls against other players are punishable by a penalty or a free-kick based on the location of the foul in the field (Goldblatt, 2008). A referee punishes players based on the severity of fouls committed. A red card means that a player has been dismissed from the game and cannot be replaced. Two yellow cards issued during the same game result in a red card (Orejan, 2011). A decision by a referee is considered final and unchangeable. The final score is also unchangeable even if the referee made biased or wrong decisions that favored one of the teams. A game is overseen by a referee in collaboration with two assistants.
World Cup is the major international football competition that involves teams from all parts of the world. It is organized by FIFA and involves 32 teams that represent different countries and continents (Orejan, 2011). Other football contests include Summer Olympic Games and annual continental championships that are organized by continental confederations in different regions. Football is played by more than 250 million people around the world (Orejan, 2011).
It is more famous in England, Argentina, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Portugal, Uruguay, France, and Turkey (Goldblatt, 2008). These countries have produced some of the best footballers in the world such as Pele, Maradona, Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane, and Cristiano Ronaldo among others. Also, some of these countries have won the World Cup on several occasions.
Goldblatt, D. (2008). The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Orejan, J. (2011). Football/Soccer: History and Tactics. New York, NY: McFarland.