Popularly known as the beautiful game by its many lovers across the world, soccer is one of the most popular games in the world. It is enjoyed and appreciated globally by individuals from all walks of life. It is played both as a competitive and social game. This essay highlights some of the basic and relevant facts about football including pitch sizes, basic rules, types of competitions and governing body.
Like all types of sports, soccer is also governed by a set of rules that ensures fair play and protection of the participants including players, officials and fans. Football rules are majorly conservative; they are rarely changed unlike in other sports. Changing the laws governing the game requires a consensus by the majority of members that make up the football governing bodies within geopolitical regions. These governing bodies can be at local, national, continental, regional and global levels. At an international level, such consensus must be reached by the members drawn from around the world. The global body that governs soccer and runs the World Cup, the global football competition, is known as Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). World Cup is the largest soccer tournament featuring thirty two national teams drawn from different geopolitical regions.
Soccer fields do not have fixed dimensions; instead they apply maximums and minimums (width of 50-100 yards and a length of 100-130 yards). Most fields are within these dimensions, with age of the players and the level of competition some of the factors determining field sizes. High profile games such as international competitions are usually played in fields with fixed and standardized dimensions, 110-120 yards in length and 70-80 yards in width. The standard size of the goal is eight yards wide and eight feet high. This does not change regardless of the general size of any soccer pitch. The dimensions are also fixed for the penalty and the goal area which are 18 and 6 yards respectively from the goal line.
The general duration of a single match at the top level is ninety minutes in addition to the additional time called the stoppage or injury time, which are the minutes added at the end of the 45 minutes of each half so as to cover for pauses within the game including attending to injured players, interruptions and substitutions. In my interview with Daniel Lewis, a retired international referee, he said, “it takes a lot of instinct to determine the time to add at the end of either half of any match. But with the help of some new technologies applied in soccer today coupled with support from other match officials, we are often able to put up additional time which is acceptable to the teams playing as well as the existing soccer policies”.
A single referee is allowed to manage a game inside the field with the assistance of two assistant referees and a match commissioner. The center referee uses red and yellow cards and a whistle to manage the game. The whistle is used as signal for all actions in the field including calling for fouls, taking penalties and corners and breaks. A yellow card is a warning while a red card is issued to send off a player. Two yellow cards equal a red card. A sending off amounts to suspension of the player.