Knowing the basic rules of soccer is necessary both to play and to understand the game. A regulation that, despite how much this sport has changed since its birth, has not been modified in depth either.
Every sport needs rules, unless we want it to turn into chaos. When it comes to football, the rules of the game take on special importance. The first attempts to regulate this sport date back to the mid-nineteenth century, although it would not be until the creation of the International Football Association Board and the beginning of the professional game when the first official football regulations would emerge, which at that time had 13 rules. A regulation that already establishes the equivalence between football and soccer, as far as denomination is concerned.
The proof of how good that first regulation was is obvious, considering that today there are 17 football rules or regulations that are used and many of them have hardly changed in all this time. A regulation that we are going to know, briefly, and with which you may learn things that you did not know before.
1. The pitch
Rule 1 establishes the measurements of the field of play, which must always be rectangular and have measurements of 90 to 120 meters long by 45 to 90 meters wide. This rule also establishes the measurements of the areas, the location of the penalty spot and the rest of the field measurements.
2. The ball
Rule 2 establishes the dimensions that soccer balls must have. These must be spherical, made of leather or other similar material, measuring between 68 and 70 centimeters in diameter and weighing between 410 and 450 grams. These are the measurements for adults, which may vary in the lower categories.
3. The number of players
This rule establishes the number of players for each team. As you know, a soccer team has eleven players, one of them acting as a goalkeeper. It is also indicated that a team must have at least 7 players to play the match. The number of substitutions and substitutes available is governed by the competent federation.
4. The kit
To practice this sport correctly, the player must wear a football shirt , shorts, socks and boots or shoes. All the players on a team dress the same except for the goalkeeper, who must be different from all the other players. The norm prohibits the use of dangerous elements during the game, such as rings, earrings or bracelets.
5. The referee
This rule establishes the powers of the referee and when he can apply them. He is the sole judge of any match and his decisions are final, having the ability to point out any infraction of the rules, stop or suspend a match and admonish or expel any player who deserves it, from the moment he jumps onto the field.
6. Assistant referees
The sixth rule regulates the figure of assistant referees, wrongly called line judges. Its tasks include signaling when the ball leaves the field of play, marking fouls in its area, warning of changes and reporting events that the referee has not been able to see.
7. Duration of the match
A football game lasts 90 minutes in total, divided into two parts of 45 minutes each. However, in the lower categories it is usual for this duration to be shorter. As for the break between both parties, this should not be longer than 15 minutes.
Every football game begins with a kick-off or a throw-off . The first team to serve is chosen by lottery, while in the second half the team that has not done so at the start of the match will serve. This service will always be forward and with all the players in their own field, except those who serve the ball.
9. The ball in play
This rule establishes when the ball is in play or not. This is important, since depending on whether the ball is in play or not, the referee can take some disciplinary measures or others. The ball will always be in play as long as it does not leave the field limits and the match has not been stopped by the referee.
10. The goal scored
Rule 10 states when a goal is scored. For this, it is necessary that the ball is in play, that it passes between both posts and under the crossbar and that it has completely crossed the goal line. In addition, the ball must be in play, as indicated in rule 9. At the end of the match, the team that has scored the most goals will be the winner.
11. The offside
This is one of the most controversial rules in football . The player who is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent will be offside, even if he is not in his own field. If this player contests the ball, an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opponent.
12. Faults and inaccuracies
This rule includes the behaviors that constitute a foul during the game. Among them, there are pushes, kicks or trips, which are condemned with a direct free kick or a penalty, if they are committed in the offender’s own area. Dangerous play, delay in putting the ball into play if it is the goalkeeper or interruptions to admonish or expel a player are also sanctioned.
13. Free throws
Parallel to rule 12 runs rule 13, which regulates the throwing of soccer fouls. These shots can be direct, which allow a goal to be scored from the foul position, and indirect ones, which do not allow it.
The penalty is a direct kick that occurs when a player commits a foul punished with a direct free kick inside the offender’s area. This shot is taken from the penalty spot and with all players, except the shooter and the goalkeeper, positioned behind the ball.
This rule establishes the execution of the throw-in, which must always be done with the arms, from behind the head and from the position in which the ball came out.
16. Goal Kick
The goal kick is used to restart play when the ball crosses a team’s goal line driven by an opposing player. It is done from the goal area and it is possible to score a goal from this kick, although only in the rival goal.
17. Corner kick
The last rule regulates the corner kick, with which the game starts when the ball crosses the goal line pushed by a player from the same team. The shot is executed from the corner, without removing the ball from the area painted on the field for that purpose.