17 rules that make up the beautiful game (Laws of the game)

#1 The field of play

this is simply the surface where the soccer game is played. It must be rectangular shape and marked with lines to determine boundaries.

The Touch Line (length of field): Min 90m – max 120m Width: The Goal Line (width of field): Min 45m – max 90m. The height from lower edge of crossbar to the ground is 2.44 meters and 7.32 meters post to post.

#2 The ball

It is required to play with a spherical, stitched ball made of leather. the circumference cannot be more than 70 cm. The ball pressure must be equal to 0.6 -1.1 atmosphere at sea level.

#3 Number of player

A match is played between two teams, each consisting of no more than eleven players. In official matches only 3 substitutions are allowed, but some international friendly fixtures may allow up to 6 substitutes. The game cannot start or continue if one team has less than 7 players. Once substituted, a player cannot return onto the pitch.

#4 Equipment

The basic equipment of a player consists of a jersey, shorts, stocks, shin guards, and footwear. Each team must have different colors. Goalkeepers must wear distinguishable colors from the other players and referee’s kits.

#5 The referee

The person who controls the match and enforces the Laws of the Game.  The referee has a set of yellow and red cards. A yellow card is given to prevent repeated rule breaking or unsportsmanlike behavior. If a player receives two yellow cards, this is equal to a red card, and they are sent from the field and cannot return.

#6 Assistant referees

They are placed one on each side of the field, and their  jobs includes signaling offside, highlighting which team is entitled to a goal kick, throw in or corner kick. The head referee can overrule his or her assistant and always has the final word.

#7 Duration

For adult game each half lasts 45 minutes with 15 minutes break. Added time will be played at the end of the half to make up for any time lost during the game. This is known as ‘injury time’ and is different to the ‘extra time’ in knockout tournaments that decide the winner.

#8 Start and Restart of play

Each period starts with a kick off taken at the center of the field, and the game also restarts with a kick off if a team scores a goal. A coin toss decides which team kick off first. The coin toss winner chooses the end to attack, whilst the loser kicks off. All players must be in their own half before the kick off, and both teams change ends at half time.

#9 Ball In and Out of play

The rules state that the ball is in play the entire match except when it has entirely crossed the goal line or touch line on the ground or in the air.

#10 Scoring

A goal is scored from action, direct free kicks, or penalty kicks when the ball completely goes across the line into the goal. The winning team is the team that scores the most goals. If both teams are level at the final whistle, then the match is a draw. Unless in a competition where extra time, away goals and penalties coming in play.


#11 The offside rule

The simple concept is the attacking player must have at least on defender (not including the goalie) between him or her and the goal  when the ball is being played to him or her on the opponent side. The offside rule is one of the most debated rules in football

#12 Fouls and Misconduct

When a player targets another player and then pushes, holds, kicks him or her away to get the ball this is seen as a misconduct. A foul is an accidental action where a player is trying to get the ball.

#13 Free kicks

An indirect kick is a kick that cannot be taken towards the goal directly. When a ref awards an indirect free kick he will raise one arm above his head until the free kick is struck. A direct kick is a kick where the player can score without passing the ball to someone else. The ball must be stationary for all free kicks.

#14 Penalty kicks

A penalty kick is a direct free kick from the penalty spot when a defender commits foul play in his own area. The kick is awarded to the attacking team. All other players besides the penalty taker must be in the field of play and over 9.5 meters from the penalty spot.

#15 The throw-in

When the ball goes out of play over the side line, a throw-in happens and the opponent of the player who last touched the ball will get the advantage. The throw-in must be taken from the exact spot the ball left the field of play. Players cannot score directly from a thrown in.

#16 The goal kick

When the attacking team sends the ball over the defending team’s goal line a goal kick is given to the defending team. All opposing players must remain outside the penalty area until the goal kick is taken.

#17 Corner kick

When the defending team kicks the ball over their own goal line, and a goal is not scored a corner kick is given to the attacking team. The kick is taken from within the corner arc on the side of the field closest to where the ball crossed the goal line.

What is FIFA?

FIFA in French is the abbreviation for Federation International de Football Association. In English FIFA translates to International Federation of Association Football.

FIFA was founded in Paris on May 21, 1904 by representatives form Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It consists of 211 member associations divided into six regional confederation: Africa (CAF), Asia (AFC), Europe (UEFA), North and Central and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), Oceania (OFC), and South America (CONMEBOL).

FIFA is soccer’s international governing body. It is based in Zurich, Switzerland. It is responsible for the organization and promotion of the sport’s major events such as the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup. FIFA regulates the game across the world. It ensures the laws of the game remain universal.

FIFA consist of 37 members. One president elected by the FIFA Congress;  8 vice presidents and 28 other members elected by the member associations. Each member is elected for a term of four years and each confederation must have at least on female representative. The president and the member of the council can not serve for more than three terms of office.

More on Associations and Confederations.


The First World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is a quadrennial tournament to determine the sport’s world champion. It is one of the biggest events on the planet.

The first FIFA World Cup opened at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay on July 18, 1930 where France beat Mexico 4-1 and the United States did the same thing by defeating Belgium 3-0 in the first ever World Cup matches.

Going into the tournament, Uruguay and Argentina were the favorites to win it. Due to depression in Europe, some of the most accomplished European teams including England, Italy, Spain, Germany and Holland did not make an appearance at the first World Cup.

In the first round, France’s Lucien Laurent scored the first-ever World Cup goal. Then France lost to Argentina 1-0 in their second game. After beating Belgium, the US beat Paraguay to set up a semi-final with Argentina which they lost 6-1. Uruguay went on to beat Yugoslavia 6-1 in their semi-final. The first FIFA World Cup final took place on July 30, 1930 in front of 90,000 spectators in Montevideo where Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 to win their first FIFA World Cup trophy.

Uruguay’s first goal in the World Cup Final against Argentina, in Montevideo, Uruguay, July 30, 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina by four goals to two.

Tournament Stats:

Number of participating teams: 13
Top scorer: Argentina’s Guillermo Stabile (8 goals)
Number of games: 18
Total goals scored: 70
Average goals per game: 3.89
Highest scoring game: Argentina’s 6-3 win over Mexico on July 19
Total attendance: 434,500
Average attendance: 24,139

Did You Know?

Did you know Lionel Messi is the only player in the history of football/soccer who has won the ballon d’or 6 times?

The Ballon d’Or award honors the male player deemed to have performed the best over the year, based on voting by football journalists, coaches, and captains of national teams.

Did You Know?

Did you know the FIFA World Cup trophy was stolen in 1966?

Four months before the tournament was set to take place in England, the trophy was stolen from a public exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. The perpetrators demanded a ransom of £15,000. A replica was made just in case it wasn’t recovered. Ultimately, it was found by a dog called Pickles.

Full story here.

Did You Know?

Did you know the U.S. Women’s soccer team broke the record for the most goals scored in a single Women’s World Cup match in 2019?

June 11, 2019 USA vs Thailand 13-0

That 13-0 defeat against Thailand was the highest margin of victory in a single match — in both women’s and men’s World Cup soccer history.

Did You Know?

Did you know the 222 million euro transfer of Brazilian player Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in August 2017 is the all-time highest fee for a soccer transfer?