Football (soccer)

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This article is about association football. For other uses of the term Football, please see Football (disambiguation).

Association football, colloquially known as football worldwide (except in a few countries where it is referred to as soccer), is a team sport played on a rectangular grass field, called a football pitch, with a goal positioned in the centre of each end. There are eleven players on each team who compete to move a spherical ball around the pitch and into their opponents' goal (i.e., to score a goal).

The pitch dimensions can vary but must be within 100–130 yards (90–120 m) long and 50–100 yards (45–90 m) wide, with the proviso that it cannot be a square. In top-class football, the pitch dimensions are rarely outside the international standard of 110–120 yards (100–110 m) long and 70–80 yards (64–75 m) wide. The goal is a wooden structure of two upright posts 24 feet (7.32 m) apart, topped by an adjoining crossbar eight feet (2.44 m) off the ground. The ball has a circumference of 27–28 inches (68–70 cm). A unique factor of the sport is that the players, with the exception of the goalkeeper, may not use their hands or arms to control the ball. The ball is primarily controlled with the feet, though the head, chest and knees may be used at need. A football match is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each, with play being continuous throughout each half except for stoppages due to rule violations and injuries, for which stoppage time (aka injury time) is added on at the end of the half.

The object of the game is to score the most goals. If the teams have scored an equal number of goals at the end of normal time, the match may be declared a draw. This is nearly always the case in matches which are part of a league competition. In knock-out tournaments or finals, some form of tiebreaker is required. The immediate option is a period of extra time, the teams playing a further thirty minutes divided into halves of fifteen minutes each. If the scores are still level after extra time, the match might go to a replay at a later date or be settled on the spot by means of a penalty shoot-out.

Football developed in Great Britain from earlier versions of the activity and it became formally organised after 1863 when the Football Association (the FA) was founded in London. The FA published the original Laws of the Game (LOTG). It spread internationally and is now the most popular sport in the world in terms of spectators, player participation and media coverage. Each nation has its own football association for purposes of governance and the management of their national team. In global terms, football is controlled by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) who adopted the LOTG in 1904 and organise the world's premier sporting competition, the World Cup, contested by international teams. However, the world's most lucrative tournament in financial and commercial terms is the UEFA Champions League, formerly called the European Cup, for European club teams. The most successful teams in the World Cup have been Brazil, Germany and Italy. In the European Cup, the most successful teams have been Real Madrid (Spain), AC Milan (Italy), Liverpool (England) and Bayern Munich (Germany).



For more information, see: Football to 1900.

According to FIFA, the earliest verifiable game involving kicking a ball was Cuju, created in ancient China in the 2nd or 3rd century. Citation needed.

Modern football evolved in England in the 19th century from the centuries-old "folk football" after various schools and universities proposed their own rules of play.. Develop and provide sources

The first universal rules of football was documented in the University of Cambridge in 1856. In 1863, these "Cambridge rules" were adopted by the Football Association at a meeting in London as the official rules of football. Develop and provide sources.