Contents Introduction Early history Timeline of football Establisment of modern codes Pitch dimensions Globalisation Rugby football Competitions
introduction Football refers to a number of sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer".
Early history The Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet. Documented evidence of an activity resembling football can be found in the Chinese military manual Zhan Guo Ce compiled between the 3rd century and 1st century BC. It describes a practice known as cuju ( literally "kick ball"), which originally involved kicking a leather ball through a small hole in a piece of silk cloth which was fixed on bamboo canes and hung about 9 m above ground.
Establishment of modern codes A more detailed description of football is given in Francis Willughbys Book of Games, written in about 1660. Willughby, who had studied at Bishop Veseys Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield, is the first to describe goals and a distinct playing field: "a close that has a gate at either end. The gates are called Goals." His book includes a diagram illustrating a football field. He also mentions tactics ("leaving some of their best players to guard the goal"); scoring ("they that can strike the ball through their opponents goal first win") and the way teams were selected ("the players being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness"). He is the first to describe a "law" of football: "they must not strike [an opponents leg] higher than the ball"
Official disapproval and attemptsto ban football Between 1324 and 1667, football was banned in England alone by more than 30 royal and local laws. The need to repeatedly proclaim such laws demonstrated the difficulty in enforcing bans on popular games. King Edward IIwas so troubled by the unruliness of football in London that on April 13, 1314 he issued a proclamation banning it. The reasons for the ban by Edward III, on June 12, 1349, were explicit: football and other recreations distracted the populace from practicing archery, which was necessary for war.
Present day codes and families Five-a-side football — played throughout the world under various rules including: Futsal — the FIFA-approved five-a-side indoor game Minivoetbal — the five-a-side indoor game played in East and West Flanders where it is hugely popular Papi fut — the five-a-side game played in outdoor basketball courts (built with goals) in Central America. Indoor soccer — the six-a-side indoor game, known in Latin America, where it is often played in open air venues, as fútbol rápido ("fast football") Masters Football — six-a-side played in Europe by mature professionals (35 years and older) Paralympic football — modified Football for athletes with a disability. Includes: Football 5-a-side — for visually impaired athletes Football 7-a-side — for athletes with cerebral palsy Amputee football — for athletes with amputations Deaf football — for athletes with hearing impairments Electric wheelchair soccer Beach soccer — football played on sand, also known as beach football and sand soccer Street football — encompasses a number of informal varieties of football
Globalisation of associationfootball The need for a single body to oversee association football had become apparent by the beginning of the 20th century, with the increasing popularity of international fixtures. The English Football Association had chaired many discussions on setting up an international body, but was perceived as making no progress. It fell to associations from seven other European countries: France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, to form an international association. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris on May 21, 1904. Its first president was Robert Guérin. The French name and acronym has remained, even outside French-speaking countries.
Split in Rugby footballIn Britain, by 1870, there were about 75 clubs playing variations of the Rugby school game. There were also "rugby" clubs in Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. However, there was no generally accepted set of rules for rugby until 1871, when 21 clubs from London came together to form theRugby Football Union (RFU). The first official RFU rules were adopted in June 1871. These rules allowed passing the ball. They also included the try, where touching the ball over the line allowed an attempt at goal, though drop-goals from marks and general play, and penalty conversions were still the main form of contest.
Domestic competitions The governing bodies in each country operate league systems in a domestic season, normally comprising several divisions, in which the teams gain points throughout the season depending on results. Teams are placed into tables, placing them in order according to points accrued. Most commonly, each team plays every other team in its league at home and away in each season, in around-robin tournament. At the end of a season, the top team is declared the champion. The top few teams may be promoted to a higher division, and one or more of the teams finishing at the bottom are relegated to a lower division. The five top European leagues – the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), the Bundesliga (Germany) and Ligue 1 (France) – attract most of the worlds best players and each of the leagues has a total wage cost in excess of £600 million/€763 million/US$1.185 billion.
International competitions The major international competition in football is the World Cup, organised by FIFA. This competition takes place over a four-year period. More than 190 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 tournament, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July.