Football is a general term that refers to a number of sports that involve kicking and passing a ball down a field to score points. The most common types of football are association football (soccer), Australian rules football, Gaelic football, American football, Canadian football, international rules football, and rugby.
Association football, commonly called football or soccer, is the most popular sport in the world. In other languages, you may find it referred to as futbol, bollfoer, calcio, fussball, labdarugó, podosfairiki, and voetbal.
Association football is played on a rectangular-shaped field called a pitch with two net goals on either end of the field. The ball is round, and each team has eleven players. Players are allowed to use kicking, heading, or any other part of their body except their arms and hands. A goalkeeper is the only player in both teams who is allowed to touch the ball with their arms or hands, but only in a defined area on the rectangular field. A score can only be made by the team if its player moves the ball into the net goal post of the opponent’s team.
Association football began in England in 1863, after the game branched off from rugby. The rules of association football are called the Laws of the Game, which are authorized annually by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and provided by the Fédération Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA).
Australian rules football, also known as "Aussie Rules" or " footy," is a physical contact sport. Its roots are traceable to early forms of rugby and Gaelic football, but it is uniquely Australian. It is played on cricket ovals, and the ball is an oval bladder covered with leather, tanned for day use, or colored visible yellow for night matches. Each team consists of eighteen players on the field.
Its rules were codified in 1858, and it is now a multi-million dollar business with a national competition and multiple leagues. Australian rules football is the main form of football in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory and has a strong following in the Australian Capital Territory. Although played in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, it runs second string to rugby league in terms of popularity in those states.
Gaelic Football is a very popular sport in Ireland and has been played for over 700 years, with its modern rules set in 1887. It is played by both men and women, with children starting the sport at a very young age. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) regulates the sport in Ireland.
The sport is played outdoors with a round ball using both hands and feet and combines elements found in other sports such as rugby, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. However, it has less contact than some other sports, with only shoulder contact and no tackling. It is a very fluid sport in which the players are positioned over the entire field, and there are no offsides.
Gaelic football is played on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals. There are fifteen players on each team, with only one referee. The primary objective is to score by driving the ball through or over the goals. If the ball is sent over the bar of the goal, the team earns one point. If the ball goes under the bar, into the goalmouth, the team gets three points.
One of the most popular competitive sports in the United States is American football. It is also commonly referred to as "tackle football" or "gridiron." American football is a full-contact sport. The general strategy of the game is to pass the oval-shaped ball between team members by either running with it or passing it to another team member to reach the goal at the end of the field. Each team has eleven players, and the field is 360 by 160 feet.
American football was likely developed from variations of rugby. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between Princeton and Rutgers. The American football rules were later formulated by Walter Camp, who is referred to as the “Father of American Football,” and professional football was officially introduced in the United States in 1892.
Canadian football shares origins with American football, and the two are closely related. Each team has twelve players, versus the eleven in American football, and the ball is oval-shaped. The standard Canadian football field runs 110 yards from goal line to goal line and 65 yards wide. This makes it 10 yards longer and 12 yards wider than the typical American football field.
The first documented football game was played at the University of Toronto on the present site of University College on November 9, 1861. In 1903, the Burnside rules, which were named after the captain of the University of Toronto football team, were adopted. The rules introduced significant changes that would alter the way the game was played, marking the turning point from a rugby-style game to a gridiron-style one.
International rules football, which is also known as inter rules in Australia and compromise rules in Ireland, is a contact sport that consists of hybrid football codes. The sport was invented so Australian rules football players could play games against Irish Gaelic football players. The rules are a compromise between the two football codes.
Each team has fifteen players, and it can be played by both men and women, although at the elite level only men play it. A round ball is used, as in Gaelic football, not the oval Australian rules football ball. The games are also played on a rectangular field, as in Gaelic football, not the oval cricket field as in Australian rules football. However, tackling is allowed, as in Australian rules football, but only between the shoulders and thighs, which is otherwise banned in Gaelic football. In international rules football, a player must touch the ball on the ground once every one meter or six steps. Two bounces per possession can be done. A free-kick will be awarded if a player commits a foul.
In 1823, William Webb Ellis used his hands to pick up a ball in a soccer match and ran with it to the goal. That day, rugby was born. Rugby is a contact sport played without pads or helmets. It is unique in that play is continuous even after players are tackled on the field. The rugby ball is oval, the field is rectangular, and there are four types of scoring plays: a try, a conversion, a drop goal, and a penalty kick.
Rugby is played in many different variations, the most common being fifteens rugby, or rugby union, which simply means there are fifteen players per team. Rugby league uses thirteen players. However, sevens, with seven players per team, has become more popular in recent years and was re-introduced in the 2016 Rio Olympics as an official Olympic sport. Touch rugby, beach rugby, rugby tens, and rugby twelves are also iterations of the sport.
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