Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players each, who primarily use their feet to propel a ball around a rectangular field called a pitch. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by moving the ball beyond the goal line into a rectangular-framed goal defended by the opposing team. Traditionally, the game has been played over two 45-minute halves, for a total match time of 90 minutes. With an estimated 250 million players active in over 200 countries and territories, it is the world's most popular sport.
The game of association football is played in accordance with the Laws of the Game, a set of rules that has been in effect since 1863 and maintained by the IFAB since 1886. The game is played with a football that is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) in circumference. The two teams compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts, under the bar, and across the goal line), thereby scoring a goal. When the ball is in play, the players mainly use their feet, but may use any other part of their body, except for their hands or arms, to control, strike, or pass the ball. Only the goalkeepers may use their hands and arms, and only then within the penalty area. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner. There are situations where a goal can be disallowed, such as an offside call or a foul in the build-up to the goal. Depending on the format of the competition, an equal number of goals scored may result in a draw being declared, or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shoot-out.
Internationally, association football is governed by FIFA. Under FIFA, there are six continental confederations: AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC, and UEFA. Of these confederations, CONMEBOL is the oldest one, being founded in 1916. National associations (e.g. The FA or JFA) are responsible for managing the game in their own countries both professionally and at an amateur level, and coordinating competitions in accordance with the Laws of the Game. The most senior and prestigious international competitions are the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup. The men's World Cup is the most-viewed sporting event in the world, surpassing the Olympic Games. The two most prestigious competitions in European club football are the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Women's Champions League, which attract an extensive television audience throughout the world. Since 2009, the final of the men's tournament has been the most-watched annual sporting event in the world. (Full article...)
Blackburn Olympic Football Club was an English football club based in Blackburn, Lancashire in the late 19th century. Although the club was only in existence for just over a decade, it is significant in the history of football in England as the first club from the north of the country and the first from a working-class background to win the country's leading competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup). The cup had previously been won only by teams of wealthy amateurs from the Home counties, and Olympic's victory marked a turning point in the sport's transition from a pastime for upper-class gentlemen to a professional sport.
The club was formed in 1878 and initially took part only in minor local competitions. In 1880, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, and three years later defeated Old Etonians at Kennington Oval to win the trophy. Olympic, however, proved unable to compete with wealthier and better-supported clubs in the new professional era, and folded in 1889.
Most of Olympic's home matches took place at the Hole-i'-th-Wall stadium, named after an adjacent public house. From 1880 onwards, the club's first-choice colours consisted of light blue shirts and white shorts. One Olympic player, James Ward, was selected for the England team and six other former or future England internationals played for the club, including Jack Hunter, who was the club's coach at the time of Olympic's FA Cup win. (Full article...)
Larsson amassed 93 caps over 13 years for Sweden, scoring 36 goals. In the summer of 2006 he retired from international football and returned to his home town club of Helsingborgs IF. He later joined Manchester United on a brief loan spell between January and March 2007.
The AFA also organised all the Primera División championships from 1893 to 2016–17. From the 2017–18 season the "Superliga Argentina", an entity which was administered independently and had its own statute, took over the Primera División championships. Nevertheless, the Superliga was contractually linked with the main football body. The last championship organised by the Superliga was 2019–20, shortly after the season ended the body was dissolved. (Full article...)
An Association football pitch is usually traditionally covered in grass. Much investment is made on the playing surfaces in larger clubs, with some importing specialist seeds and turf from European countries and each club employing a groundsman to keep it in good condition for playing. The game is also played on artificial turf at a professional level in some countries.