Association football, also known as just football, is an organized team sport usually played by a spherical object containing 11 players. It is the most popular sport in the world, with more than 250 million people playing it in more than 200 countries and dependencies. It has a long history, going back to its origins as a game between English knights and Roman soldiers. The popularity has increased significantly since being introduced by FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) in 18 CONMEBOL (Confederative Cup Of Europe) countries in 1994.
You will often see football referred to as “soccer” but in most places it is invariably association football. The game is usually played behind a goal, with the object of winning the ball and ultimately scoring a “goal”. The game of association football is very similar to that of soccer, with only the substitutions and extra-time alterations made. Many people refer to the game as “football”, which is what it is called in America, although the word “futebol” is more common. Futebol in Spain means “ball” while in Brazil and other South American countries it is commonly referred to as “futbol”.
The basic game format is quite simple. Two teams are seated side-by-side with each team assigned a specific player. Each team consists of eleven players including the goalkeeper. The object of the game is for the team playing in the front to kick the ball through the opposing goal or into the goalmouth. The object of the game is for the opposite team not to kick the ball through their goal or into their goalmouth. If a team scores more goals in a game than their opponents, they win.
In association football the sides compete for domestic or continental championships. Every four years during the qualification process for the championships, the winners get a place at the World Cup. When England qualified for the first world cup in 1994, all three English teams were automatically qualified. This was a big step forward for English football and the standard of play improved significantly. Since then qualifying for the championship has proven to be difficult for some English teams and some have even struggled in the qualifying tournaments.
As mentioned previously, the English football association has created its own football codes for the top division and the lower leagues. The non-league football codes only play against other non-league teams. The football codes also compete against the international football teams. The FA has created official rules for these competitions including the regulation of the ball. Each football code is responsible for establishing its own regulations of the ball and the way it is handled. Each country has its own governing body for football, which is the FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) or the FIFA (Federation of International Soccer Associations).