Like every sport, football comes with specific rules which every player must follow. This is an old sport and perhaps one of the well-recognized ones. In any sport, rules will define what is permitted and what is not permitted in situations whether on or off the court, course or field. Such rules can cover anything, right from the kind of uniform to be worn for the sport to ways in which scores are kept. All rules of a sport will also apply to the players, officials and coaches.
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Must-Follow Rules in Football:
- The pitch is rectangular in shape with touchlines and goal lines, penalty areas, center circle, flag post and corner arcs marked. While the touch lines are the short edges, the shorter lines are goal lines. There is a half line which divides the field into two parts. Each of these must be marked clearly as also the center circle, goal areas, corner arcs and penalty areas.
- The soccer ball must be made from the right kind of materials according to set specifications, and it may be changed only by a referee. In case the soccer ball bursts while the game is on, play must be stopped and restarted using a new ball.
- A regular match must have eleven players from each of the two teams. This will include a goalkeeper who may be replaced with an outfield player when play is stopped. Any team must have at least 7 players to start a match or continue playing. There can be only 3 substitutions at the most for every team during any official match; the number may be more during friendly matches.
- As far as sporting gear goes, all players must wear socks, shirts and shorts, shin guards and proper football boots. The goalkeepers need to wear jerseys and gloves which make them stand apart from their team members, officials and opponents.
- There is always a referee to oversee a game and he makes sure that all rules are properly followed; all those violating rules are to be punished. There are also assistant referees who help the main referee during a match. They are expected to support the main referee by signaling for throw-ins, corner kicks, offside infringements etc. There can even be a fourth official whose job is more administrative by nature.
- A football match is expected to last through two sessions, each 45 minutes long. Injury time or additional time may be given when a game ends in order to make up for time lost because of injury to players. A match may go into overtime if there is no winner when the regular time is over.
- To initiate the game, a coin gets tossed by the two opposing captains and a kick-off at center circle formally starts the match. The ball continues to be in play until the referee stops the play. The ball is said to be out of play when it crosses touchlines and goal lines. In case the ball rebounds off crossbars, goalposts, flag posts, referee or assistant referees, but is still on the field, it is said to be in play.
- The team which scores maximum goals wins the match; if both score equal goals, or if there is no goal, the match ends in a draw. When a ball gets passed forward and the player is found to be closer than the ball is to the rival’s goal line, and defenders are less than two in number, the player is called offside. The opposition can then get a free kick.
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