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Association football, commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a special ball. It is the world's most popular sport.
The games similar to modern football have existed for a long time for different people. However the first written down rules are dated to 1848. Football date of birth is considered to be the year of 1863 when the first Association of football was organized and the rules similar to the modern ones were written down. The football history really began long time ago. For example, there were games similar to football in Egypt, Germany and China.
Separate football game is called a match consisted of two times for 45 minutes. The pause between the first and the second time makes 15 minutes, during which the team have a rest, and after that the teams exchange their gates. Football is played on a field with a grassy or synthetic covering. Two teams participate in a game. There are 11 players in every team.
One person in a team is called a goalkeeper. He can use hands in the penal area at the gate, his primary duty is protection of the gate. Other players also have their functions and positions in the field. Defenders are placed on their half of the field, their duty is to counteract attack the players of the opposite team. Halfbacks play in the middle of a field, their role is to help defenders or attacking players, who are called forwards. Forwards play mainly on the half of the field of their opponents, whose primary aim is to score goals.
In 2001 FIFA (International Federation of Football Associations) published the data about people who took part in playing football. The number is 250 million persons. Among them there were more than 20 million women. FIFA registered about 1,5 million football teams and 300 000 professional clubs.
Many countries are involved in football playing: The first place is taken by the USA (approximately 18 million people, 40% of them are women). Indonesia goes next (10 million), Mexico (7,4 million), China (7,2 million) … Russia (3,8 million).
There is a number of the organizations which are carrying out control, management and football distribution. The basic is FIFA, located in Zurich, Switzerland. It is engaged in the organization of the international competitions of a world scale, in particular the World championship. Further there are continental organizations and the organizations of in the countries, regions, cities and etc. They have duties of organizing corresponding football competitions, controlling activities of clubs entering them, distributions and football popularization in regions.
Football clubs are basic part of the whole football structure. They are a link among football players, personnel and organizations. As a matter of fact it is a team of football players who enter one of the organizations, which have a definite infrastructure and serving personnel.
Football competitions are important components of games. Competitions are organized by federation. Each tournament has regulations in which they usually define the number of participants, the scheme of the tournament. They include a rule of definition of the winner at equality of points and any deviations from rules, for example quantity of replacements made. Competitions are divided into internal and international ones which are in their turn divided into club and national teams.
There is a set of versions of football, basically with smaller quantity of players including footdoubleball (it is played by two balls), beach football (played on sand), foothall (AMF) and foothall (FIFA) (minifootball) (played in a hall with a special covering), domestic football (played on any covering on fields of any size by any quantity of people), marsh football (played on a bog), football freestyle (performed by every possible feints and tricks).