Football is one of the best sports to ever be played in the world. It is the most famous of all sports, watched and played currently in over 150 countries.
The football field is a rectangular grassland with two goalposts in the middle of each end. The rules are that only two teams participate per match, each team with 11 players playing different positions (attackers, midfielders and defenders). The main aim is to try and score in the other team’s goal post while defending your own.
There are also main rules that everybody should know about football. The first is that you can touch the ball using any part of your body except your hand, unless you are a goalkeeper and are standing inside the goalkeeper’s area. The second main rule revolves around the offside; you should not cross or pass a ball to a player who has already been behind the other team’s defenders. This is a rule many people struggle to understand.
Another important rule relates to the yellow and red cards. If the referee sees a strong foul, he will not hesitate to give you a yellow card, but if the player gets two yellow cards, the player will be taken out of the pitch and receive a red card.
Fans have a very big role in and impact on the game. They encourage players to play and work harder to become better and eventually win games; however, fans can also have a bad effect on players. For example, when they start to boo the players and say negative things about them, it makes the players uncomfortable and their concentration vanishes, shifting to what is being said rather than the game.
Football is a game that involves a lot of feeling, especially when there is an important match with a grand prize on the line. The fans start to gather and support their teams with all their hearts, not only by buying the shirt of the team and wearing it, but above all, by having faith in the team. In fact, feelings are such a pivotal part of football that it is not uncommon to see crying and fights between fans defending their favourite teams.
The country that first invented football was England in the 12th century. Back then, they played on the street and in meadows because there were no stadiums that were designed to be played on. But the game of football continued to develop in every era. They had several meetings in the 17th century to decide the rules of the game; in 1849, a meeting was held but the outcome was not determined. They held another meeting in 1863 when the first football association was formed in England, and the result of that was that you should not touch the ball with your hands. That was the same meeting in which they decided the weight and size of the ball. Then, the idea of making clubs started to spread, but it was unofficial and unorganised so it is hard to say which club was the first to form and where that happened. However, we do know that clubs were first created by former students and the first professional club was Notts County, formed in 1862.
At first, the game was played mostly by former students but was then taken over by professionals. Another development was that clubs started to pay the best players to come and play at their club. That was the start of the sport’s expanding from entertainment alone into the professional sector as well.
In 1871, the Football Association Challenge Cup, also known as the FA Cup, became the first important competition. In addition, the year after that, the first international match was played between Scotland and England.
In 1883, the first international football competition was held and it involved four national teams: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Then, the sport of football started to spread throughout Europe. In addition, The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, known as FIFA, was formed in 1904 and the participants included France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland. At first, England didn’t see any good reason to join, as they did invent the game, but finally joined FIFA the next year, yet still chose not to participate in the World Cup until 1950.
Leagues started in many countries, and the first was in England and went by the name of ‘English Football League’, which was invented in 1888. Then, leagues expanded into divisions according to the level and performance of the team.
The passion the fans and players have for the game is incredible. Stadiums are always full of fans cheering for their favourite team, whether the match was important or not. Even at home, fans seemed to not disappoint us because they will watch the match with great enthusiasm and with an eagle’s-eye attitude.
In the late 19th century, Goodison Park, a stadium in England, was constructed with the purpose of hosting matches and making fans spectate.
The FA Cup final between Notts County and Bolton Wanderers was attended by 37000 people. An important accomplishment in developing the stadiums of football was the construction of Maracanã Stadium. In 1950 the stadium in Rio de Janeiro (the capital of Brazil) was ready to have about 200000 people watching the game inside it.
Different cultures mean different ways of cheering. While the British fans used the tradition of singing, their inspiration coming from pubs and working songs, Southern Americans adopted the festival and carnival style which has firecrackers, fireworks and fire. Later, fans in other countries have adopted a mix of each style and tradition.
There is no bigger or more important competition to the Summer Olympics Games than the FIFA World Cup. It was first played in 1930 in Uruguay and from then on it was played every four years.
In addition, in 1991 the first World Cup for women was played in China and has since then returned every four years.
Nowadays, the biggest tournament for clubs is the Champions League that was played since 1992 and its former edition was by the name of the European Cup (1955-1991).
The globalisation of football
In the 19th century, there were only a few national football teams. Today, there are over 200 national teams that are in the association of FIFA. Another evidence of globalisation is the increase in the number of teams that are participating in the World Cup: from 32 countries in 1934 to 200 countries in 2014.
The world’s continents divided the world of football into confederations: Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA), The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), and Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL).
In most parts of the world, the word ‘football’ is used to denote the biggest sport in the world; however, in the United States of America and Canada, they use the word ‘soccer’ instead.
All in all, regardless of what you choose to call it, the sport is incredible and spectacular because of its big impact in people’s hearts, shown by how they react to important matches and how it spread from one country to the rest of the world. Its development from playing on roads to playing in stadiums is proof of how far football has come, eventually becoming the most important and most famous sport in the world.