Football (Soccer) Rules


Rules of Association Football (Soccer)

Soccer: A Historical Overview

Soccer, one of the world’s oldest and most widely recognized sports, has a rich history that spans centuries. At its pinnacle stands the illustrious Football World Cup, accompanied by prestigious tournaments such as the Euro Championships, Copa America, and the African Cup of Nations. While known as soccer in some parts of the world, its essence remains unchanged.

The Objective of the Game

The fundamental objective of soccer is elegantly simple: score more goals than your opponent within a 90-minute match. This duration is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each, separated by a 15-minute halftime interval. The match may extend beyond this if the referee deems it necessary due to injuries (injury time).

Players and Equipment

Soccer features two teams, each comprising 11 players—a goalkeeper and ten outfield players. The dimensions of the pitch may vary slightly, but it typically spans around 120 yards in length and 75 yards in width. The pitch includes a 6-yard box adjacent to the goal mouth, an 18-yard box encompassing the 6-yard box, and a center circle. Both halves of the pitch mirror each other in terms of dimensions.

The essential equipment for a soccer match consists of a pitch and a football. Players often wear studded football boots, shin pads, and coordinated team uniforms. Goalkeepers, uniquely, wear padded gloves as they are the only ones permitted to handle the ball. Each team designates a captain to lead them.


Scoring in soccer is a matter of getting the ball into the opponent’s goal. The entire ball must cross the goal line for a goal to be valid. Players are allowed to score with any part of their body, except their hand or arm up to the shoulder. The goal itself is a frame measuring 8 feet in height and 8 yards in width.

Winning the Game

Victory in soccer is attained by scoring more goals than the opposing team. If the scores are level after the 90-minute regulation time, the match concludes as a draw, except in cup games, where extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shootout determine the winner. Players are restricted to using their feet to kick the ball, with the exception of goalkeepers, who can use any part of their body within the 18-yard box.

Rules of Soccer

Soccer adheres to a set of rules that govern the game’s flow:

  • Matches consist of two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute halftime break.
  • A minimum of 11 players, including one goalkeeper who can handle the ball within the 18-yard box, is required to constitute a team.
  • The field may be made of natural or artificial grass and must adhere to specific dimensions.
  • The ball must have a circular shape with a circumference of 58-61cm.
  • Teams can name up to seven substitute players, with a maximum of three substitutions allowed per side during a match.
  • A referee and two assistant referees (linesmen) officiate each game.
  • Extra time, consisting of two 15-minute halves, is played if teams are level after 90 minutes.
  • A penalty shootout may be required if the deadlock persists after extra time.
  • The entire ball must cross the goal line for a goal to be valid.
  • Fouls can result in a player receiving a yellow or red card, depending on the foul’s severity.
  • The offside rule is employed to prevent players from being in an offside position when a pass is played to them.

Soccer, with its long and storied history, continues to captivate millions worldwide. Its enduring simplicity and universal appeal have made it a beloved sport, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. Understanding the rules and traditions of soccer allows fans to appreciate the game’s beauty and excitement, as well as its profound impact on sports culture globally.


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