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Soccer - Football Information

Football Federation Australia
Football Federation Australia, also known simply as FFA, is the governing body of soccer in Australia, based in Sydney.

Introduction
Soccer is a game that is played with two teams each consisting of 11 players and one ball. According to an estimate, soccer is played in 200 nations with about 250 million people playing it worldwide. This sport is played in a rectangular ground and has a goal at each side of the post. A player can score by using any part of his body except his hands and arms and he has to throw the ball into the goal of opposite team.

Only the goalkeepers are allowed to touch the ball with arms or their hands and that too only in the penalty area. The team that scores the highest number of goals at the end of the match is the winner. The duration of a match is 90 minutes divided in two halves of 45 minutes each. If the score is level at the end of the match, then either there are penalties kicks or extra time is given or the match is called draw. Football is regulated by FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) FIFA sets up a world cup after every 4 years.

Football History
The true history is still unknown as there are plenty of conflicting ideas and beliefs regarding who invented the soccer. Some historians suggest that it was invented as back as 2500 BC, when a game was played in Egypt, china and Greece with a ball using feet. However, a Chinese game Tsin Dynasty which was played between 255-206 BC is quite similar to soccer. In that game soldiers used to play in a training which features a ball that was supposed to be kicked in a net hanging between two poles. The difference in soccer and Chinese game was the height of the pole. After Tsu-chu, many other games relating to that were invented and played across the world. Soccer came to Europe in early 9th century and it was played in the towns of England. British used to kick bladder of a Pig from one place to another. However, it was seen as insane and was banned for some time in Britain.

The soccer was started to be played in British schools in the 16th century. In those days, schools allowed to use hand during the game. Two goals were placed at both sides and one goal keeper used to defend the goal on each pool. The rules for soccer kept on updating and became better with time. In 17th century there were special soccer clubs introduced in UK, which used to organize matches between two clubs. Even at that time hands were allowed to be used during the game and the ball could only be thrown to the backside.

Finally, in 1863 it was the football association which created stiff rules and invented the modern day soccer. After the agreement of football association rules, the first official match was placed in Battersea Park, London which featured many good players. After that day soccer became very famous with a Football Association Cup getting introduced after 12 years and then Football League was formed in 1888. During that time soccer clubs were also on the roll and were increasing and getting famous in the streets of Europe. They were spread to Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland. With the start of 20th century, a lot of European countries had formed Soccer clubs and soccer leagues were being played along with international games.

Game Play
Soccer is played with some set of rules call Laws of the Game. Soccer is played with a round ball of 71 cm which is known as football. Each team is headed by a captain. The basic laws are that players apart from the goalkeeper will not touch the ball with their hands or arms, but they will use their hand in throw in restart. Players can also use their leg or head to shoot the ball. Players are free to move the ball freely, but the ball is not allowed to be received when at an offside position.

Different techniques are used by players to score a goal. Those include dribbling, passing the football to another player or direct shoot to the goal post. Opposite team players try to tackle and take control of the ball in their own possession, but there should be no physical contact between the players. A referee is there to conduct the game, and in case of any violation of the rule, referee has right to give warning to a player, and after warning referee can sent the player out of the field by showing him a red card.

Normally, at a professional game, there are very few goals. In 2005-06 season of the English premier league, the average of goals in a match was only 2.48. In the laws of game only goalkeeper has a specified position, all other players can rotate their positions.

Even then there are few specific roles adopted in modern day soccer e.g. defenders who are specialized in preventing the opposite teammates to score a goal, midfielders, who are responsible for keeping possession of the ball so that they could pass it to other players. Then there are strikers whose main duty is to score a goal. Those players who play in these specific positions are referred as outfield players so that they are separated from goalkeeper. Then, these positions are further alienated into areas, such as left midfielders etc. performance.

Equipment and Players
A basic kit for all the players include a shirt, a short, socks and soccer shoes with some sufficient shin guards. Headgear is not required but a player can opt for it to protect himself from any head injury. Players cannot wear anything that can be dangerous to themselves or any other player e.g. watch or jewellery. Goalkeeper should wear a dress that makes him different than other players on the ground and match officials.

Players can be substituted during a game. Normally in most international competitions, a highest number of three players can be substituted in a match. Though, this number can be different in some other competitors or friendly matches. The primary reasons for substitution include injury, ineffective player, tired player, tactical switch, or may be for the reason of time wasting by the winning team. A player who is substituted cannot be made part of the match again in that match.

Ball In and Out of Play
If the ball goes out of the field or the game is halted by the referee, then there are eight methods to restart the game, which are the following ones;

Kick-off:
It is used after a goal or to start the game.

Throw-in: If the soccer ball crosses the touchline, it is then awarded to opposite team player who last kicked the ball.

Goal Kick: It is the kick when the ball crosses the goal line but there is no goal, it is then given to the defending team player.

Corner Kick: If the football completely crosses the goal lone without the goal getting scored and the ball was touched by the player of the defending team, then kick is awarded to the player of the attacking team.

Indirect Free Kick: This kick is awarded to the opposite team if the other team has committed a non penal foul or some kind of technical infringements. It is hard to score a goal directly without the ball touching another teammate in an indirect free kick.

Direct Free Kick: It is given to the fouled team in case of a penal foul. In this kick a goal can be directly scored.

Penalty Kick: It is also awarded to the fouled team in case of a foul that is normally punished by a direct free kick, but the foul occurred inside the D or the penalty area of opponents.

Dropped Ball: It occurs when referee stops the game due to any reason like an injury of some player etc.
 

Duration and Tie-Breaking Methods
A normal soccer match continues for 90 minutes with two 45 minutes halves. Each half is run constantly, which means the clock doesn't stop for anything. The break between two halves is of 15 minutes. When the 90 minutes are over, that point is known as full time. The referee is entitled to give additional time to both teams due to the time loss in substituting, aid to injured player or any other halting. The time that referee adds is knows as additional time. The duration of additional time is at the discretion of referee.

In the league matches, game might end in a draw. However in some knockout game, the winner is required. Therefore, various methods can be used to end the draw. Such methods include extra time, some competitions allow penalty kicks. Goals scored in the extra time are counted as the final score of the match, but in penalties, only the scored penalties determine the winner who promotes to next round.

International Competitions
The major and most famous international event of soccer is the World Cup. The world cup is played after every 4 years and about 200 national teams play in the qualifying rounds within their continents to play in the world cup. In World cup, there are thirty two teams that play in a span of 4 weeks. Before the beginning of the World Cup, the Olympics (particularly during the 1920s) had the same rank as the World Cup. Initially, that tournament was for amateurs only Next to world cup, the most famous and significant tournaments are the continental championships, which are conducted by the federations of the continents. It includes Euorpean Championship, African Cup, and Asian cup, Copa America, CONCACAF Gold Cup and OFC. Another important tournament is FIFA Confederations Cup which is played by the all six continental winners, the world champions and the host of confederations cup. The freshest edition of the competition is the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which is being held in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014.

Domestic Championships
There are various governing bodies that operate in each country and that operated the leagues system during a domestic season. This season comprises of various divisions, in which the teams earn points all over the season according to their results. Those teams are positioned in a a table of order with respect to points. At the end of the season, the team with highest points is named the champion. The top teams are hence promoted to superior divisions, whereas the lower ones are relegated to a inferior division. The teams concluding at the peak of a country's league may be entitled also to participate in international club competitions in the coming season.
Punishments
The referee can punish a player by first cautioning him (yellow card) and then ejection from the game (red card). A second yellow card in one game leads to a red card which in turn leads to dismissal from the match. There can be no substitute for the dismissed player. All the definitions of misconduct are listed in the rules book, but their interpretation is broad. There is no valid definition for unsporting behavior, and it is on referee's discretion how he interpret and issue a yellow card to some player on that matter. Managers or coaches or any other off field staff cannot be issued a yellow or red card, but may be asked to leave their spot in the ground if they are not behaving in defined manner.

Governing Bodies
The recognized international governing organization of soccer is FIFA, which is headquartered at Zurich, Switzerland. Six regional associations are associated with FIFA which are: Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). These national associations conduct and regulate inside their countries. In total 209 national associations are linked with FIFA and also with their respective continental association.

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