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Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a
team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some c ...
played with a
spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values ...

spherical
ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional s ...
between two teams of 11
players Players may refer to: Art, entertainment, and media * Players (1979 film), ''Players'' (1979 film), a film starring Ali MacGraw * Players (2012 film), ''Players'' (2012 film), a Bollywood film * Players (Dicks novel), ''Players'' (Dicks novel), a ...

players
. It is played by approximately 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...

pitch
with a
goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, Planning, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting Time limit, deadlines. A goal is roughly simi ...
at each end. The object of the game is to outscore the opposition by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. The team with the higher number of goals wins the game. Football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The ball is in circumference and known as the ''
football Football is a family of team sport A team is a goalkeepers_within_the_
goalkeepers_within_the_penalty_area">goalkeeper_(association_football)">goalkeepers_within_the_penalty_area._Other_players_mainly_use_their_feet_to_strike_or_pass_the_ball,_but_may_also_use_any_other_part_of_their_body_except_the_hands_and_the_arms.__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_either_a_Tie_(draw).html" "title="penalty_area.html" ;"title="goalkeeper (association football)">goalkeepers within the penalty area">goalkeeper (association football)">goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms. 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 either a Tie (draw)">draw Draw, drawing, draws, or drawn may refer to: Common uses * Draw (terrain), a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between them * Drawing (manufacturing), a process where metal, glass, or plastic or anything e ...
is declared or the game goes into extra time or a Penalty shootout (association football), penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Each team is led by a Captain (association football), captain who has only one official responsibility as mandated by the Laws of the Game: to represent their team in the coin toss prior to kick-off or penalty kicks. Football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which organises
World Cups The world is the Earth and all life on it, including civilization, human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an Ontology, ontological world (the "world" of an individual). In a theo ...
for both men and
women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, male gamete during sexual reproduction. A female ...

women
every four years. The FIFA World Cup has taken place every four years since
1930 Events January * January 6 ** The first diesel engine automobile trip is completed (Indianapolis, Indiana, to New York City) by Clessie Cummins, founder of the company Cummins. ** An early literary character licensing agreement is signed by ...

1930
with the exception of 1942 and 1946 tournaments, which were cancelled due to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. 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. It is the most prestigious football tournament in the world as well as the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
. The most prestigious competition in club football is the
UEFA Champions League The UEFA Champions League (abbreviated as UCL) is an annual club competition organised by the (UEFA) and contested by , deciding the competition winners through a round robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format, and a ...
which attracts an extensive television audience throughout the world. The final of the tournament has been, in recent years, the most-watched annual sporting event in the world. The top five European leagues are the
Premier League The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL (legal name: The Football Association Premier League Limited), is the top level of the English football league system The English football league system, als ...
(England),
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

La Liga
(Spain),
Bundesliga The Bundesliga (; ), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga () or 1. Bundesliga (), is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between tw ...

Bundesliga
(Germany),
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
(Italy), and
Ligue 1 Ligue 1, officially known as Ligue 1 Uber Eats Uber Eats is an American online food ordering and delivery platform launched by Uber Uber Technologies, Inc., commonly known as Uber, is an American technology company. Its services ...
(France). Attracting most of the world's best players, each of the leagues has a total wage cost in excess of £600 million/€763 million/US$1.185 billion. Football is one of a family of , which emerged from various
ball game Ball games (or ballgames), also ball sports, are any form of game or sport which feature a ball as part of play. These include games such as association football, football, cricket, baseball, basketball, and American football. Such games have diver ...
s played worldwide since antiquity. The modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by
The Football Association The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
.


Name

The rules of association football were codified in England by FA in 1863 and the name ''association football'' was coined to distinguish the game from the played at the time, specifically
rugby football Rugby football is a collective name for the family of team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical abil ...
. The first written "reference to the inflated ball used in the game" was in the mid-14th century: "Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe." The ''
Online Etymology Dictionary The ''Online Etymology Dictionary'' is a free online dictionary In computer technology and , online indicates a state of connectivity and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology, this usually refers to an , but (especia ...
'' states that the "rules of the game" were made in 1848, before the "split off in 1863". The term ''soccer'' comes from a slang or jocular abbreviation of the word "association", with the suffix "-er" appended to it. The word ''soccer'' (which arrived at its final form in 1895) was first recorded in 1889 in the earlier form of ''socca.'' Within the
English-speaking world Speakers of English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wo ...
, association football is now usually called "football" in the United Kingdom and mainly "soccer" in Canada and the United States. People in countries where other codes of football are prevalent (Australia, Ireland, Wales, South Africa and New Zealand) may use either term, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use "football" for the formal name.


History

Kicking ball games arose independently multiple times across multiple cultures. According to
FIFA FIFA ( french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; en, International Federation of Association Football, link=yes; : ''Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación''; : ''Internationaler Verband des Association-Fußball'' ...
, the Chinese competitive game ''
cuju ''Cuju'' or ''Ts'u-chü'' is an ancient Chinese ball game. It is a competitive game that involves kicking a ball through an opening into a net. As in modern-day football, the use of hands is not allowed. Descriptions of the game date back to the H ...
'' (蹴鞠, literally "kick ball") is the earliest form of football for which there is evidence. ''Cuju'' players could use any part 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 Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
occurred. During the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
(206 BCE – 220 CE), ''cuju'' games were standardised and rules were established. ''Phaininda'' and ''
episkyros ''Episkyros'' (, ; also , , 'common-ball') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...
'' were Greek ball games. An image of an ''episkyros'' player depicted in low relief on a vase at the
National Archaeological Museum of Athens The National Archaeological Museum ( el, Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο) in Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the pictu ...
appears on the
UEFA European Championship The UEFA European Football Championship, less formally the European Championship and informally the Euros, is the primary association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played ...
trophy.
Athenaeus Athenaeus of Naucratis Naucratis or Naukratis ( grc-gre, Ναύκρατις, "Naval Command"; Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a n ...
, writing in 228 CE, referenced the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
ball game ''
harpastum ''Harpastum'', also known as ''harpustum'', was a form of ball game played in the Roman Empire. The Romans also referred to it as the small ball game. The ball used was small (not as large as a '' follis'', ''paganica'', or football Football ...
''. ''Phaininda'', ''episkyros'' and ''harpastum'' were played involving hands and violence. They all appear to have resembled
rugby football Rugby football is a collective name for the family of team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical abil ...
,
wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the oppon ...

wrestling
and
volleyball Volleyball is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoym ...

volleyball
more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified "
mob football Medieval football is a modern term used for a wide variety of the localised informal football games which were invented and played in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified ...
", the antecedent of all , these three games involved more handling the ball than kicking. Other games included ''
kemari is an athletic game that was popular in Japan during the Heian period. It resembles a game of football (soccer) or hacky sack. ''Kemari'' has been revived in modern times. History The first evidence of ''Kemari'' is from 644 CE. The rules w ...

kemari
'' in Japan and '' chuk-guk'' in Korea. In North America,
pasuckuakohowog Pasuckuakohowog is a Native Americans in the United States, Native American game similar to soccer, football. The term literally translates to "they gather to play ball with the foot" and was described by Roger Williams. There are records that sh ...
was a ball game played by the
Algonquians The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcont ...
; it was described as "almost identical to the kind of folk football being played in Europe at the same time, in which the ball was kicked through goals". Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other ball games played around the world FIFA has recognised 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 standardise 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 CE. The
Cambridge rules The Cambridge Rules were several formulations of the rules of football made at the University of Cambridge during the nineteenth century. One of these codes, dating from 1863, had a significant influence on the creation of the original Laws of t ...
, first drawn up at
Cambridge University The University of Cambridge is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest ...
in 1848, were particularly influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge rules were written at
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
, at a meeting attended by representatives from ,
Harrow Harrow may refer to: Places * Harrow, Victoria, Australia * Harrow, Ontario, Canada * The Harrow, County Wexford, a village in Ireland * London Borough of Harrow, England, UK ** Harrow, London, a town ** Harrow (UK Parliament constituency) ** Harr ...
,
Rugby Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
,
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...

Winchester
and
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury ( , ) is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the ...
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 The Sheffield and Hallamshire Football Association is a County Football Association in England. It was formed in Sheffield in 1867 as the Sheffield Football Association and is the second oldest football governing body behind The Football Associa ...
in 1867. In 1862,
John Charles Thring John Charles Thring (11 June 1824 – 3 October 1909), known during his life as "Charles Thring" or "J. C. Thring", was an English clergyman and teacher, notable for his contributions to the early history of association football Associatio ...
of
Uppingham School Uppingham School is a co-educational independent school in Uppingham, Rutland Rutland () is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brook ...
also devised an influential set of rules. These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of
The Football Association The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
(The FA) in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the
Freemasons' Tavern The Freemasons' Tavern was established in 1775 at 61-65 Great Queen Street Great Queen Street is a street in the West End of London, West End of central London in England. It is a continuation of Long Acre (street), Long Acre from Drury Lane t ...

Freemasons' Tavern
in
Great Queen Street Great Queen Street is a street in the West End of London, West End of central London in England. It is a continuation of Long Acre (street), Long Acre from Drury Lane to Kingsway (London), Kingsway. It runs from 1 to 44 along the north side, eas ...

Great Queen Street
, London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was
Charterhouse Charterhouse may refer to: * Charterhouse (monastery) A charterhouse (french: chartreuse; german: Kartause; it, certosa; pt, cartuxa; es, cartuja) is a monastery A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic qu ...
. The Freemasons' 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 Rugby Football Union (RFU) is the national governing body for rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th c ...
. The eleven remaining clubs, under the charge of
Ebenezer Cobb Morley Ebenezer Cobb Morley (16 August 1831 – 20 November 1924) was an English sportsman. He is regarded as one of the List of persons considered father or mother of a field, fathers of the Football Association (FA) and modern Association football, f ...

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 The Football Association Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the FA Cup, is an annual knockout A knockout (abbreviated to KO or K.O.) is a fight-ending, winning criterion in several full-contact Contact sports are sports that emphasize ...

FA Cup
, which was founded by the footballer and cricketer , 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 Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
, again at the instigation of C.W. Alcock. England is also home to the world's first
football league The English Football League (EFL) (legal name: The Football League Limited) is a league competition featuring professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport playe ...
, which was founded in
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Ro ...

Birmingham
in 1888 by
Aston Villa Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional Association football, football club based in Aston, Birmingham. The club competes in the , the top tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1874, they have played at their home ...
director William McGregor. The original format contained 12 clubs from the
Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England and a cultural area that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Mercia, Kingdom of Mercia. The Midlands region is bordered by Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in th ...
and
Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England ...

Northern England
. The laws of the game are determined by the
International Football Association Board The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game (association football), Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competit ...

International Football Association Board
(IFAB). The board was formed in 1886 after a meeting in
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguis ...

Manchester
of The Football Association, the
Scottish Football Association The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; sco, Scots Fitba Association; Scottish Gaelic: ''Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba'') is the Sport governing body, governing body of association football, football in Scot ...
, the
Football Association of Wales The Football Association of Wales (FAW; cy, Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru) is the Governing bodies of sports in Wales, governing body of association football and futsal in Wales, and controls the Wales national football team, Welsh national foot ...
, and the
Irish Football Association The Irish Football Association (IFA) is the governing body for association football in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ') is #Descriptions, variously described as a countr ...

Irish Football Association
.
FIFA FIFA ( french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; en, International Federation of Association Football, link=yes; : ''Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación''; : ''Internationaler Verband des Association-Fußball'' ...
, 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 The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game (association football), Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competit ...

International Football Association Board
in 1913. The board consists of four representatives from FIFA and one representative from each of the four British associations. 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 Fan commonly refers to: * Fan (machine) Sounds from a household fan. A fan is a powered machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be driven by anima ...
, 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
Ivory Coast national football team The Ivory Coast national football team (French language, French: ''Équipe de football de Côte d'Ivoire'', recognized as Côte d'Ivoire by FIFA) represents Ivory Coast in men's international Association football, football. Nicknamed ''the Elep ...
helped secure a truce to the nation's
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
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 Bouaké (or Bwake) is the second-largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd editi ...
, 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 The Football War ( es, La guerra del fútbol; colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normal ...
in June 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras. The sport also exacerbated tensions at the beginning of the Croatian Independence War of the 1990s, when a match between
Dinamo Zagreb Građanski nogometni klub Dinamo Zagreb ( en, Dinamo Zagreb Citizens' Football Club, link=yes, italics=yes), commonly referred to as GNK Dinamo Zagreb or simply Dinamo Zagreb (), is a Croatian professional association football, football Football ...
and
Red Star Belgrade Fudbalski klub Crvena zvezda ( sr-Cyrl, Фудбалски клуб Црвена звезда, lit=Red Star Football Club), better known simply as Crvena zvezda (, ) or, internationally, as Red Star Belgrade, is a Serbia Serbia (, ; sr, ...
degenerated into
rioting Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot () is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority In the fields of sociology Soci ...
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#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
(25–220 CE). Two female figures are depicted in
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

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. Association football, the modern game, also has documented early involvement of women. An annual competition in Mid-Lothian, Scotland during the 1790s is reported, too. In 1863, football governing bodies introduced standardised rules to prohibit violence on the pitch, making it more socially acceptable for women to play. The first match recorded by the
Scottish Football Association The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; sco, Scots Fitba Association; Scottish Gaelic: ''Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba'') is the Sport governing body, governing body of association football, football in Scot ...
took place in 1892 in
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
. In England, the first recorded game of football between women took place in 1895. The best-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 [1894], 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 Feminism, 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 World War I, First World War, when employment in heavy industry spurred the growth of the game, much as it had done for men 50 years earlier. The most successful team of the era was Dick, Kerr Ladies F.C. of Preston, Lancashire, 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 people, 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 The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
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 due 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 Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
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 organised in the United Kingdom, eventually becoming the most prominent
team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some c ...
for British women.


20th and 21st century

The growth in women's football has seen major competitions being launched at both Women's football around the world, national and international competitions in women's football, 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 recognise 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 football at the 1996 Summer Olympics – Women's tournament, since 1996.


Gameplay

Association football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The game is played using a spherical ball of circumference, known as the ''
football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson (academic), Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg Sch ...
'' (or ''soccer ball''). 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. Each team is led by a Captain (association football), captain who has only one official responsibility as mandated by the Laws of the Game: to represent their team in the coin toss prior to kick-off or penalty kicks. The primary law is that players other than Goalkeeper (association football), goalkeepers may not deliberately handle the ball with their hands or arms during play, though they must use both their hands during a throw-in restart. Although players usually use their feet to move the ball around they may use any part of their body (notably, Header (association football), "heading" with the forehead) other than their hands or arms. Within normal play, all players are free to play the ball in any direction and move throughout the pitch, though players may not pass to teammates who are in an Offside (association football), offside position. During gameplay, players attempt to create goal-scoring opportunities through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling, passing the ball to a teammate, and by taking shots at the goal, which is guarded by the opposing goalkeeper. Opposing players may try to regain control of the ball by intercepting a pass or through Tackle (football move)#Association football, tackling the opponent in possession of the ball; however, physical contact between opponents is restricted. Football is generally a free-flowing game, with play stopping only when the ball has left the field of play or when play is stopped by the Referee (association football), referee for an infringement of the rules. After a stoppage, play recommences with a specified restart. At a professional level, most matches produce only a few goals. For example, the FA Premier League 2005-06, 2005–06 season of the English
Premier League The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL (legal name: The Football Association Premier League Limited), is the top level of the English football league system The English football league system, als ...
produced an average of 2.48 goals per match. The Laws of the Game do not specify any player positions other than goalkeeper, but a number of association football positions, specialised roles have evolved. Broadly, these include three main categories: Striker (association football), strikers, or forwards, whose main task is to score goals; Defender (association football), defenders, who specialise in preventing their opponents from scoring; and midfielders, who dispossess the opposition and keep possession of the ball to pass it to the forwards on their team. Players in these positions are referred to as outfield players, to distinguish them from the goalkeeper. These positions are further subdivided according to the area of the field in which the player spends the most time. For example, there are central defenders and left and right midfielders. The ten outfield players may be arranged in any combination. The number of players in each position determines the style of the team's play; more forwards and fewer defenders creates a more aggressive and offensive-minded game, while the reverse creates a slower, more defensive style of play. While players typically spend most of the game in a specific position, there are few restrictions on player movement, and players can switch positions at any time. The layout of a team's players is known as a ''Formation (association football), formation''. Defining the team's formation and tactics is usually the prerogative of the team's Manager (association football), manager.


Laws

There are 17 laws in the official Laws of the Game, each containing a collection of stipulation and guidelines. The same laws are designed to apply to all levels of football, although certain modifications for groups such as juniors, seniors, women and people with physical disabilities are permitted. The laws are often framed in broad terms, which allow flexibility in their application depending on the nature of the game. The Laws of the Game are published by FIFA, but are maintained by the
International Football Association Board The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game (association football), Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competit ...

International Football Association Board
(IFAB). In addition to the seventeen laws, numerous IFAB decisions and other directives contribute to the regulation of football.


Players, equipment, and officials

Each team consists of a maximum of eleven players (excluding substitute (association football), substitutes), one of whom must be the goalkeeper (football), goalkeeper. Competition rules may state a minimum number of players required to constitute a team, which is usually seven. Goalkeepers are the only players allowed to play the ball with their hands or arms, provided they do so within the penalty area in front of their own goal. Though there are a variety of association football positions, positions in which the outfield (non-goalkeeper) players are strategically placed by a coach, these positions are not defined or required by the Laws. The basic equipment or ''Kit (association football), kit'' players are required to wear includes a shirt, shorts, socks, footwear and adequate shin guards. An jockstrap, athletic supporter and protective cup is highly recommended for male players by medical experts and professionals. Association football headgear, Headgear is not a required piece of basic equipment, but players today may choose to wear it to protect themselves from head injury. Players are forbidden to wear or use anything that is dangerous to themselves or another player, such as jewellery or watches. The goalkeeper must wear clothing that is easily distinguishable from that worn by the other players and the match officials. A number of players may be replaced by substitutes during the course of the game. The maximum number of substitutions permitted in most competitive international and domestic league games is three in ninety minutes with each team being allowed one more if the game should go into extra-time, though the permitted number may vary in other competitions or in exhibition game, friendly matches. Common reasons for a substitution include injury, tiredness, ineffectiveness, a tactical switch, or timewasting at the end of a finely poised game. In standard adult matches, a player who has been substituted may not take further part in a match. IFAB recommends "that a match should not continue if there are fewer than seven players in either team". Any decision regarding points awarded for abandoned games is left to the individual football associations. A game is officiated by a referee (association football), referee, who has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" (Law 5), and whose decisions are final. The referee is assisted by two Assistant referee (association football), assistant referees. In many high-level games there is also a fourth official who assists the referee and may replace another official should the need arise. Goal line technology is used to measure if the whole ball has crossed the goal-line thereby determining whether a goal has been scored or not; this was brought in to prevent there being controversy. video assistant referees (VAR) have also been increasingly introduced in high-level matches to assist officials through video replays to correct clear and obvious mistakes. There are four types of calls that can be reviewed: mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card, goals and whether there was a violation during the buildup, direct red card decisions, and penalty decisions.


Ball

The ball is spherical with a circumference of between , a weight in the range of , and a pressure between at sea level. In the past the ball was made up of leather panels sewn together, with a latex bladder for pressurisation but modern balls at all levels of the game are now synthetic.


Pitch

As the Laws were formulated in England, and were initially administered solely by the four British football associations within IFAB, the standard dimensions of a football pitch were originally expressed in imperial units. The Laws now express dimensions with approximate SI, metric equivalents (followed by traditional units in brackets), though use of imperial units remains popular in English-speaking countries with a relatively recent history of metrication (or only partial metrication), such as Britain. The length of the pitch, or field, for international adult matches is in the range of and the width is in the range of . Fields for non-international matches may be length and in width, provided that the pitch does not become square. In 2008, the IFAB initially approved a fixed size of long and wide as a standard pitch dimension for international matches; however, this decision was later put on hold and was never actually implemented. The longer boundary lines are ''touchlines'', while the shorter boundaries (on which the goals are placed) are ''goal lines''. A rectangular goal is positioned on each goal line, midway between the two touchlines. The inner edges of the vertical goal posts must be apart, and the lower edge of the horizontal crossbar supported by the goal posts must be above the ground. Nets are usually placed behind the goal, but are not required by the Laws. In front of the goal is the penalty area. This area is marked by the goal line, two lines starting on the goal line from the goalposts and extending into the pitch perpendicular to the goal line, and a line joining them. This area has a number of functions, the most prominent being to mark where the goalkeeper may handle the ball and where a penalty foul by a member of the defending team becomes punishable by a penalty kick. Other markings define the position of the ball or players at Kick-off (association football), kick-offs, goal kicks, penalty kicks and corner kicks.


Duration and tie-breaking methods


90-minute ordinary time

A standard adult football match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play. There is usually a 15-minute half-time break between halves. The end of the match is known as full-time. The referee is the official timekeeper for the match, and may make an allowance for time lost through substitutions, injured players requiring attention, or other stoppages. This added time is called ''additional time'' in FIFA documents, but is most commonly referred to as ''stoppage time'' or ''injury time'', while ''lost time'' can also be used as a synonym. The duration of stoppage time is at the sole discretion of the referee. Stoppage time does not fully compensate for the time in which the ball is Ball in and out of play, out of play, and a 90-minute game typically involves about an hour of "effective playing time". The referee alone signals the end of the match. In matches where a fourth official is appointed, towards the end of the half, the referee signals how many minutes of stoppage time they intend to add. The fourth official then informs the players and spectators by holding up a board showing this number. The signalled stoppage time may be further extended by the referee. Added time was introduced because of an incident which happened in 1891 during a match between Stoke City F.C., Stoke and
Aston Villa Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional Association football, football club based in Aston, Birmingham. The club competes in the , the top tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1874, they have played at their home ...
. Trailing 1–0 and with just two minutes remaining, Stoke were awarded a penalty. Villa's goalkeeper kicked the ball out of the ground, and by the time the ball had been recovered, the 90 minutes had elapsed and the game was over. The same law also states that the duration of either half is extended until the penalty kick to be taken or retaken is completed, thus no game shall end with a penalty to be taken.


Tie-breaking

In league competitions, games may end in a draw. In knockout competitions where a winner is required various methods may be employed to break such a deadlock; some competitions may invoke Replay (sports), replays. A game tied at the end of regulation time may go into extra time, which consists of two further 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, some competitions allow the use of penalty shootout (football), penalty shootouts (known officially in the Laws of the Game as "kicks from the penalty mark") to determine which team will progress to the next stage of the tournament. Goals scored during extra time periods count towards the final score of the game, but kicks from the penalty mark are only used to decide the team that progresses to the next part of the tournament (with goals scored in a penalty shootout not making up part of the final score). In competitions using two-legged matches, each team competes at home once, with an aggregate score from the two matches deciding which team progresses. Where aggregates are equal, the away goals rule may be used to determine the winners, in which case the winner is the team that scored the most goals in the leg they played away from home. If the result is still equal, extra time and potentially a penalty shootout are required.


Ball in and out of play

Under the Laws, the two basic states of play during a game are ''ball in play'' and ''ball out of play''. From the beginning of each playing period with a kick-off until the end of the playing period, the ball is in play at all times, except when either the ball leaves the field of play, or play is stopped by the referee. When the ball becomes out of play, play is restarted by one of eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play: * Kick-off (association football), Kick-off: following a goal by the opposing team, or to begin each period of play. * Throw-in: when the ball has crossed the touchline; awarded to the opposing team to that which last touched the ball. * Goal kick: when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a player of the attacking team; awarded to defending team. * Corner kick: when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a player of the defending team; awarded to attacking team. * Indirect free kick: awarded to the opposing team following "non-penal" fouls, certain technical infringements, or when play is stopped to caution or dismiss an opponent without a specific foul having occurred. A goal may not be scored directly (without the ball first touching another player) from an indirect free kick. * Direct free kick: awarded to fouled team following certain listed "penal" fouls. A goal may be scored directly from a direct free kick. * Penalty kick (association football), Penalty kick: awarded to the fouled team following a foul usually punishable by a direct free kick but that has occurred within their opponent's penalty area. * Dropped-ball: occurs when the referee has stopped play for any other reason, such as a serious injury to a player, interference by an external party, or a ball becoming defective.


Misconduct


On-field

A foul (football), foul occurs when a player commits an offence listed in the Laws of the Game while the ball is in play. The offences that constitute a foul are listed in Law 12. Handling the ball deliberately, tripping an opponent, or pushing an opponent, are examples of "penal fouls", punishable by a direct free kick or penalty kick depending on where the offence occurred. Other fouls are punishable by an indirect free kick. The referee may punish a player's or substitute's misconduct (football), misconduct by a caution (Penalty card, yellow card) or dismissal (Penalty card, red card). A second yellow card in the same game leads to a red card, which results in a dismissal. A player given a yellow card is said to have been "booked", the referee writing the player's name in their official notebook. If a player has been dismissed, no substitute can be brought on in their place and the player may not participate in further play. Misconduct may occur at any time, and while the offences that constitute misconduct are listed, the definitions are broad. In particular, the offence of "unsporting behaviour" may be used to deal with most events that violate the spirit of the game, even if they are not listed as specific offences. A referee can show a yellow or red card to a player, substitute or substituted player. Non-players such as managers and support staff cannot be shown the yellow or red card but may be expelled from the technical area if they fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner. Rather than stopping play, the referee may allow play to continue if doing so will benefit the team against which an offence has been committed. This is known as "playing an advantage". The referee may "call back" play and penalise the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue within "a few seconds". Even if an offence is not penalised due to advantage being played, the offender may still be sanctioned for misconduct at the next stoppage of play. The referee's decision in all on-pitch matters is considered final. The score of a match cannot be altered after the game, even if later evidence shows that decisions (including awards/non-awards of goals) were incorrect.


Off-field

Along with the general administration of the sport, football associations and competition organisers also enforce good conduct in wider aspects of the game, dealing with issues such as comments to the press, clubs' financial management, Doping in sport, doping, Age fraud in association football, age fraud and match fixing. Most competitions enforce mandatory suspensions for players who are sent off in a game.For example, see
The Football Association The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
's rules regarding player suspensions in FA competitions:
Some on-field incidents, if considered very serious (such as allegations of racial abuse), may result in competitions deciding to impose heavier sanctions than those normally associated with a red card. Some associations allow for appeals against player suspensions incurred on-field if clubs feel a referee was incorrect or unduly harsh. Sanctions for such infractions may be levied on individuals or on to clubs as a whole. Penalties may include fines, points deductions (in league competitions) or even expulsion from competitions. For example, the English Football League deduct 12 points from any team that enters Administration (British football), financial administration. Among other administrative sanctions are penalties against game forfeiture. Teams that had forfeited a game or had been forfeited against would be awarded a technical loss or win.


Governing bodies

The recognised international governing body of football (and associated games, such as futsal and beach soccer) is
FIFA FIFA ( french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; en, International Federation of Association Football, link=yes; : ''Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación''; : ''Internationaler Verband des Association-Fußball'' ...
. 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: UEFA, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) * North/Central America & Caribbean: CONCACAF, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) * Oceania: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) * South America: CONMEBOL, Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (South American Football Confederation; CONMEBOL) National associations oversee football within individual countries. These are generally synonymous with sovereign states, (for example: the Cameroonian Football Federation in Cameroon) but also include a smaller number of associations responsible for sub-national entities or autonomous regions (for example the
Scottish Football Association The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; sco, Scots Fitba Association; Scottish Gaelic: ''Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba'') is the Sport governing body, governing body of association football, football in Scot ...
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 The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game (association football), Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competit ...

International Football Association Board
, where each of the UK Associations has one vote, while FIFA collectively has four votes.


International competitions

International competitions in association football principally consist of two varieties: competitions involving representative national teams or those involving clubs based in multiple nations and national leagues. ''International football'', without qualification, most often refers to the former. In the case of international club competition, it is the country of origin of the clubs involved, not the nationalities of their players, that renders the competition international in nature. The major international competition in football is the FIFA World Cup, World Cup, organised by FIFA. This competition takes place every four years since
1930 Events January * January 6 ** The first diesel engine automobile trip is completed (Indianapolis, Indiana, to New York City) by Clessie Cummins, founder of the company Cummins. ** An early literary character licensing agreement is signed by ...

1930
with the exception of 1942 and 1946 tournaments, which were cancelled due to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. 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 World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world as well as the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
; the cumulative audience of all matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup was estimated to be 26.29 billion with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final, final match, a ninth of the entire population of the planet. The current champions are France national football team, France, who won their second title at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2018 tournament in Russia. The FIFA Women's World Cup has been held every four years since 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup, 1991. Under the tournament's current format, national teams vie for 23 slots in a three-year FIFA Women's World Cup qualification, qualification phase. (The host nation's team is automatically entered as the 24th slot.) The current champions are the United States women's national soccer team, United States, after winning their fourth title in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, 2019 tournament. There has been a Football at the Summer Olympics, football tournament at every Summer Olympic Games since 1900 Summer Olympics, 1900, except at the 1932 games in 1932 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles. Before the inception of the World Cup, the Olympics (especially during the 1920s) were the most prestigious international event. Originally, the tournament was for amateurs only. As professionalism spread around the world, the gap in quality between the World Cup and the Olympics widened. The countries that benefited most were the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe, where top athletes were state-sponsored while retaining their status as amateurs. Between 1948 Summer Olympics, 1948 and 1980 Summer Olympics, 1980, 23 out of 27 Olympic medals were won by Eastern Europe, with only Sweden national football team, Sweden (gold in 1948 and bronze in 1952), Denmark national football team, Denmark (bronze in 1948 and silver in 1960) and Japan national football team, Japan (bronze in 1968) breaking their dominance. For the 1984 Summer Olympics, 1984 Los Angeles Games, the IOC decided to admit professional players.
FIFA FIFA ( french: Fédération Internationale de Football Association; en, International Federation of Association Football, link=yes; : ''Federación Internacional de Fútbol Asociación''; : ''Internationaler Verband des Association-Fußball'' ...
still did not want the Olympics to rival the World Cup, so a compromise was struck that allowed teams from Africa, Asia, Oceania and CONCACAF to field their strongest professional sides while restricting UEFA and CONMEBOL teams to players who had not played in a World Cup. Since 1992 Summer Olympics, 1992, male competitors must be under 23 years old, although since 1996 Summer Olympics, 1996, three players over the age of 23 have been allowed per squad. 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 organised by each continental confederation and contested between national teams. These are the UEFA European Championship, 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 was contested by the winners of all six continental championships, the current FIFA World Cup champions and the country which was hosting the next World Cup. This was generally regarded as a warm-up tournament for the upcoming FIFA World Cup and did not carry the same prestige as the World Cup itself. The tournament was discontinued following the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2017 edition. 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 The UEFA Champions League (abbreviated as UCL) is an annual club competition organised by the (UEFA) and contested by , deciding the competition winners through a round robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format, and a ...
in Europe and the Copa Libertadores in South America. The winners of each continental competition contest the FIFA Club World Cup.


Domestic competitions

The governing bodies in each country operate league systems in a Domestic association football season, domestic season, normally comprising several division (sport), divisions, in which the teams gain points throughout the season depending on results. Teams are placed into Table (information), 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 a round-robin tournament. At the end of a season, the top team is declared the champion. The top few teams may be promotion and relegation, promoted to a higher division, and one or more of the teams finishing at the bottom are promotion and relegation, relegated to a lower division. The teams finishing at the top of a country's league may be eligible also to play in List of association football competitions, international club competitions in the following season. The main exceptions to this system occur in some Latin American leagues, which divide football championships into two sections named Apertura and Clausura (Spanish for ''Opening'' and ''Closing''), awarding a champion for each. The majority of countries supplement the league system with one or more "cup" competitions organised on a single elimination tournament, knock-out basis. Some countries' top divisions feature highly paid star players; in smaller countries, lower divisions, and most of women's clubs, players may be part-timers with a second job, or amateurs. The five top European leagues – the
Bundesliga The Bundesliga (; ), sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga () or 1. Bundesliga (), is a professional association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between tw ...

Bundesliga
(Germany),
Premier League The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL (legal name: The Football Association Premier League Limited), is the top level of the English football league system The English football league system, als ...
(England),
La Liga The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander Santander may refer to: Places ...

La Liga
(Spain),
Serie A Serie A (), also called Serie A TIM for sponsorship Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group t ...

Serie A
(Italy), and
Ligue 1 Ligue 1, officially known as Ligue 1 Uber Eats Uber Eats is an American online food ordering and delivery platform launched by Uber Uber Technologies, Inc., commonly known as Uber, is an American technology company. Its services ...
(France) – attract most of the world's best players and each of the leagues has a total wage cost in excess of £600 million/€763 million/US$1.185 billion.


Notes


References


External links


Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
* {{Featured article Association football, Association football terminology Ball games Football codes Laws of association football Sports originating in England Physical education Summer Olympic sports, Football Articles containing video clips