Category: Football

Rules of Football

The rules of football are officially referred to as the “Laws of the Game”.  The Laws of the Game are described very precisely (approximately 150 pages) on the FIFA website here.

There are 17 laws in total, each one briefly summarised below.

Field of Play.  The game can be played on either natural or artificial surfaces, the surface must be green and rectangular in shape.  The two long sides of the rectangle are called touch lines and the two shorter sides are called goal lines.  The field is divided in half by the halfway line.

Ball.  Must be spherical, made of leather (or similar) 68-70 cm in circumference and of a certain pressure.

Number of Players.  Two teams of no more than 11 players (one of which is the goalkeeper).  A game cannot start if either team has less than 7 players.

Equipment.  Players must wear a jersey, shorts, stockings, shinguards and footwear.

Referee.  The referee ensures the Laws of the Game are respected and upheld.

Assistant Referees.  There may be at most 2 assistant referees.

Duration of the Match.  The game is played in 2 halves consisting of 45 minutes each.  The half time interval must not exceed more than 15 minutes.  At the discretion of the referee more time is allowed to compensate for any stoppage during play e.g.  Due to substitutions or care and attention of injured players.

Start and Restart of Play.  A kick-off starts play at the start of the match or after a goal.  A kick-off involves one player kicking the ball, from stationary, forward from the centre spot.  All players must be in their own half prior to kick-off.  A coin is tossed pre-game,  the team which loses the toss are awarded the kick-off to start the game whilst the team that win the toss are allowed to choose which direction they want to play.  After half time the teams switch direction and the other team will kick-off.  After a goal is scored, the team which conceded the goal will kick-off to restart play.

Ball in and Out of Play.  The ball is out of play once a goal has been scored or when the referee has stopped the game.  The ball is in play at all other times.

Method of Scoring.  The ball crosses the goal line inside the goal mouth.

Offside.  It is an offence for a player to be in contact with the ball when they are closer to the opponents’ goal than both the ball and the second-last opponent.   The offside rule exists to ensure there are always opponents (generally the goal keeper and a defender)  between a player receiving the ball and the goal.  Without the offside rule, play can become boring with repeated long balls being kicked to a player stood next to the goalkeeper for an easy goal.

Fouls/Misconduct.  These are many and varied, broadly speaking it is an offence to use excessive force whilst playing the game either deliberately or undeliberately or to handle the ball (unless you are a goal keeper).  The referee may show the yellow card to caution players for less serious offences and the red card for more serious offences resulting in the player being sent off.  Two yellow cards are equivalent to one red card.

Free Kicks.  Are given by the referee for fouls and misconduct. A free kick can either be direct or indirect.  A goal can be scored directly from a direct free kick.  A goal can only be scored from an indirect free kick if it touches at least one other player first.  The free kick must be taken from a stationary position with that position varying depending on whether the free kick was given inside or outside the goal area and whether it’s direct or indirect.  The opposing team must be a minimum of 9.15 m from the ball when the free kick is taken.

Penalty Kicks.  Are given against a team when they commit an offence which would normally be awarded a direct free kick inside their goal area.  The ball is kicked from stationary from the penalty spot.  The opposing team must be outside of the penalty area and at least 9.15 m from the ball.

Throw-in.  Used to restart play after the whole of the ball has crossed the touch line.

Goal kick.  Used to restart play after a goal has been scored.

Corner Kick. Is given when the whole of the ball crosses the goal line and was last touched by a member of the defending team (and no goal was scored).  A corner kick is taken from inside the corner arc closest to the point where the ball crosses the goal line.  The defending team must be at least 9.15 m from the ball when the corner kick is taken.

Origin of Football : Ancient games

A painting depicting Emperor Taizu of Song playing cuju (i.e. Chinese football) with his prime minister Zhao Pu (趙普) and other ministers, by the Yuan dynasty artist Qian Xuan (1235–1305)
The Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet. The Roman game harpastum is believed to have been adapted from a Greek team game known as “ἐπίσκυρος” (Episkyros)[11][12] or “φαινίνδα” (phaininda),[13] which is mentioned by a Greek playwright, Antiphanes (388–311 BC) and later referred to by the Christian theologian Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215 AD). These games appear to have resembled rugby football.[14][15][16][17][18] The Roman politician Cicero (106–43 BC) describes the case of a man who was killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber’s shop. Roman ball games already knew the air-filled ball, the follis.[19][20] Episkyros is recognised as an early form of football by FIFA.[21]

A Chinese game called Cuju (蹴鞠), Tsu’ Chu, or Zuqiu (足球) has been recognised by FIFA as the first version of the game with regular rules.[22] It existed during the Han dynasty, the second and third centuries BC.[citation needed] The Japanese version of cuju is kemari (蹴鞠), and was developed during the Asuka period.[23] This is known to have been played within the Japanese imperial court in Kyoto from about 600 AD. In kemari several people stand in a circle and kick a ball to each other, trying not to let the ball drop to the ground (much like keepie uppie). The game appears to have died out sometime before the mid-19th century. It was revived in 1903 and is now played at a number of festivals.[citation needed]

There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games, played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. For example, in 1586, men from a ship commanded by an English explorer named John Davis, went ashore to play a form of football with Inuit (Eskimo) people in Greenland.[24] There are later accounts of an Inuit game played on ice, called Aqsaqtuk. Each match began with two teams facing each other in parallel lines, before attempting to kick the ball through each other team’s line and then at a goal. In 1610, William Strachey, a colonist at Jamestown, Virginia recorded a game played by Native Americans, called Pahsaheman.[citation needed] On the Australian continent several tribes of indigenous people played kicking and catching games with stuffed balls which have been generalised by historians as Marn Grook (Djab Wurrung for “game ball”). The earliest historical account is an anecdote from the 1878 book by Robert Brough-Smyth, The Aborigines of Victoria, in which a man called Richard Thomas is quoted as saying, in about 1841 in Victoria, Australia, that he had witnessed Aboriginal people playing the game: “Mr Thomas describes how the foremost player will drop kick a ball made from the skin of a possum and how other players leap into the air in order to catch it.” Some historians have theorised that Marn Grook was one of the origins of Australian rules football.

The Māori in New Zealand played a game called Ki-o-rahi consisting of teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the ‘pou’ (boundary markers) and hitting a central ‘tupu’ or target.[citation needed]

Games played in Mesoamerica with rubber balls by indigenous peoples are also well-documented as existing since before this time, but these had more similarities to basketball or volleyball, and no links have been found between such games and modern football sports. Northeastern American Indians, especially the Iroquois Confederation, played a game which made use of net racquets to throw and catch a small ball; however, although it is a ball-goal foot game, lacrosse (as its modern descendant is called) is likewise not usually classed as a form of “football.”[citation needed]

These games and others may well go far back into antiquity. However, the main sources of modern football codes appear to lie in western Europe, especially England.

Former Irish footballer Liam Miller dies at 36

On Friday, former Irish footballer Liam Miller died aged 36, his first professional club Celtic FC said. The Scottish club tweeted, “Everyone at Celtic FC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA.” According to reports in November, Miller was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The Irish international joined Celtic at the age of sixteen, making his professional debut in 2000. He spent four years at the Glasgow club, and won the Scottish Premiership title in 2004. He then moved to English club Manchester United on a free transfer in 2004 under Sir Alex Ferguson‘s management; the same year he made his international debut for the Republic. Miller was briefly with Leeds United on loan, before moving to Sunderland AFCQueens Park Rangers, and then Hibernian F.C. Liam Miller also played in Australia for Perth GloryBrisbane Roar and Melbourne City FC, before playing for his hometown club Cork City FC, and moving to the US to play for Wilmington Hammerheads.

Internationally, he had featured in 21 matches from 2004 to 2009. He retired in 2016 after a spell at Wilmington Hammerheads. His former international teammate Kevin Kilbane said, “Sad hearing the awful news that Liam Miller has passed away this evening, taken far too soon by a terrible disease. Proud to have shared a dressing room with him over the years.”




Modern football has its origins in the streets of medieval England. Neighbouring towns would play each other in games where a heaving mass of players would struggle to drag a pig’s bladder by any means possible to markers at either end of town.


Football became so violent in England it was banned by the king for more than 300 years. English public schools are credited with subsequently establishing the modern football codes, thus turning the mob riot into a sport in the 16th century.


Football first appeared on the programme of the Games of the II Olympiad, Paris 1900. It has been on the programme of each edition of the Games ever since, with the exception of Los Angeles 1932.

Europe dominated the competition until after 1992 in Barcelona, where Spain became the last European team to win a gold medal. Since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, African and South American teams have won all the gold medals.

Also in 1996, women’s football was introduced into the Olympic programme. Three times, the USA has been on the highest step of the podium – in 1996, in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing. But this team was beaten by the Norwegians in the final of the 2000 Games in Sydney.

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