A Complete Guide To Football

‘Football is like life!’ It resembles the strength, conviction and perseverance we need to succeed in life. Just like life, football requires sacrifice, dedication and a strong respect for authority. In football, talent is not enough- you need to be the smarter player who strategizes. You need to be the one with the right kind of attitude.

For a lot of people, football is truly like life. But for millions, it is a way of life! Perhaps that’s why it is the most popular game in the world and the second most popular sport in India.


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Governed by FIFA internationally and All India Football Federation in the country, the love for this game has soared over the years, brewed to perfection! India has once qualified for FIFA in 1950 and is scheduled to play in the u-17 FIFA World Cup 2017. Indian Super League and other major competitions are organized to train and develop competitors in the game.


A Fitting Game- Football!

Want something that kicks your adrenaline, excites you intensely and plants a way in your heart? Then football is the game for you.

A family of team sports that involves kicking a ball into a scoring net, Football is one of the most followed sports in the world. Sport like football involve varying degrees of style- with the most popular one being Association Football (also known as soccer).

Other styles include American Football, which includes an oval-shaped ball where the teams attempt to run-pass the ball into their touchdown section and Rugby Football, which is a different version of American Football and Gaelic Football, which is a traditional Irish ball sport involving leather balls.

However, in India, the most common form of football is the association football. The sport was bought to the country by the British. The expanse of their empire popularized the games in areas that were directly controlled by the country.

India’s national team is known as ‘The Blue Tigers’, and the original team first played in the 1800s. Since then, the team has participated in a number of world championships, competitions and club events.




The sport has mostly enjoyed popularity in regions of West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Assam, Manipur and Mizoram among other states. Every year, knockout competitions are organized by the All India Football Federation, which is the governing body for the game to encourage participation on state and national levels.

The country is ranked 163 in FIFA World Rankings and has climbed up several ranks over the last few years.

Federation Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football), FIFA is the international governing body that lays down rules and laws of the game.

FIFA has scheduled India to be the organizer of FIFA -17 World Cup in 2017, which is assumed to strengthen the game in this country, as India- the host country will automatically participate in the tournament. If the country manages to perform above expectations, it will bid for u-20 FIFA World Cup hosting.


Focusing on Football’s History

Every sport has its evolution. And the history of football is actually quite intriguing. Check it out!

  • For centuries, Ancient Greeks and Romans have played ball games, which used feet. It is believed that the game of football originated from Roman and Greek Games like Harpastum and Episkyros respectively. These were the games that involved feet and a small ball that encouraged exercising of the entire body.
  • Similar to these games was Cuju, from China. The game existed during the Han Dynasty. FIFA recognizes this as the first version of football with regular rules. Cuju, the game involved kicking a ball towards the net opening. The game was initially used for exercising military official back in the 3rd and 2nd century B.C.
  • It was the middle Ages when football received immense acceptance and widespread popularity. The game was considered a ‘party for boys.’ References to the game have been made in French books and historical books from Britain. The game during those days was propelled by hands and sticks as well.
  • An early form of football was often referred to as the mob football, wherein unlimited players would clash and compete. The game was played during significant religious festivals, including Christmas. However, because of the competitive nature of the game and a large number of participants, a number of people were injured and even killed during the games.
  • In fact, the violence associated with the game was so concerning that King Edward III of England banned the game in 1363.
  • It took almost half a century before the game came back. Reintroduced by King Henry IV of England, this game was coined with the name ‘football.’ The name, given by King Henry itself went on to become the formal name for the game.
  • Modern codes were first established in English Public School, as early as 16th century. Richard Mulcaster, a student at Eton College theorized that this was the greatest century for football. He was also the earliest contributor to the rules of the game and reduced the disorderly conduct and violent forms that were associated with the sports. English schools properly codified the game by the late 18th
  • Oldest football clubs were established in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1824-41.
  • Passing tactics in the game have their own history as well. The records on passing tactics dates back to 1633 A.D. The most popular record is from 1839’s Lancashire, where the working technique of kicking and passing the ball has been discussed.
  • In the 19th century, Football was encouraged further, especially in schools to keep the youth fit.
  • This was also the period that saw rise in organized competitions for football. Yorkshire Cup was one of the first competitions to be organized. South Australian football rules came into existence in 1877. The Football League was founded in 1888 in Wales. It is the longest running association football league in the world.
  • It also the period when football originated in India. The roots can be traced back to mid-19th Initially, the games were only played between army teams of the British. Soon thereafter clubs were established. Calcutta FC was the first club. Established in 1872, the club gave way to other clubs like Dalhousie Club, Aryan Club and Mohun Bagan FC, all of which were established in around 1890s.
  • Consequently, Indian Football Association IFA was established in Calcutta in 1893. However, the organization had no Indians on board till 1930s. Simultaneously, FIFA came into existence.
  • The organization was founded in May 1904, with Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and France serving as the founding members. German Association declared its affiliation to the organization through a Telegram. The first non-European members were added in 1909, when South Africa joined the federation. United States affiliated itself in 1914.
  • To promote the game among Indians, All India Federation was formed in 1937. After independence, the federation received an affiliation from FIFA.
  • The Indian National Football Team was established in the early 20th It played the first official match in 1938 against Australia.
  • Just like the game, football’s balls have evolved as well. The earlier footballs were made using pig’s bladder that were inflated. Richard Lindon was the one who invented the first footballs with rubber bladders.
  • The iconic football that uses regular patterns of hexagon and pentagon became popular in the 1960s. It was introduced in World Cup 1970.
  • India has appeared in the Asian Cup as well and was declared the runner-up team in 1964.
  • It was not till 2011 that the Indian government decided to introduce several changes in football. Prior to this, the country didn’t even have a single home stadium due to football stadiums failing to meet FIFA guidelines.
  • The government revamped stadiums and received FIFA approval for over 10 stadiums in the country. It also started to change a number of competitions, introduced a new coach Stephen Constantine developed streamlined processes. Ultimately, these changes allowed India to win u-17 World Cup hosting rights.


You need to know the rules




The rules of the game, as determined by FIFA are listed below. These rules are applicable to Football in India as well.

  • Kick-offs start and restart after each goal. During the period of kick off, only two players are allowed in the circle, one for kicking and the other for receiving the ball.
  • If the ball crosses the goal-line, then it is considered out of bounds.
  • Kicking or tripping another player, striking an opponent, biting, head butting and pushing a member of the other team can all lead to fouls and yellow card or the warning card. Two yellow cards lead to a red card or expulsion from the game. A red card may also be given without the yellow card.
  • Free-kicks may be given to the other team in case of rule infringement or foul. Penalty kicks are awarded if the defending team commits a foul.
  • Goal kicks are awarded to the defending team if the ball is passed over the goal line.
  • The team that makes the most goals during the game, during extra time or after penalty kicks wins the game.


Keep these things in mind when playing football

The major aspect of football that has to be kept in mind is the entry for the World Cup and other general provisions. These aspects are listed as follows.

  • The international competitions consist of two stages- preliminary competition and the final competition.
  • The representative or the host team automatically qualifies for the competition.
  • The participating countries comply with the regulations of organizers or the federation which is organizing the event.
  • Players eligible for the event hold the nationality of the country and are eligible for the event in accordance to the rules laid by the organizer.

Understanding Specifications of the game

Know how long the games last, what specifications they have and how disciplinary action is taken below.

  • All matches are placed in accordance to the laws setup by the International Football Association Board.
  • Each match between two competitors lasts for 90 minutes, and is divided into two equally timed periods. A half interval of 15 minutes is given to the teams.
  • If extra time has to be allotted, it is given in two periods of 15 minutes each. If the score between teams is still tied after extra time, the referee may provide penalty kicks to determine winner of the game.
  • Each game has referees, assistant referees and fourth officials. These are selected and approved by the FIFA International Referring List. The officials receive their official kits and equipment from FIFA.
  • Disciplinary action can be taken by the referee with regards to the disciplinary code of conduct laid down by FIFA. Medical Doping is strictly prohibited. Every participating player is subject to testing at the matches.
  • In league format competition, ranking is determined by the number of points of each time, goal difference between group matches and greatest number of goals scored in all matches.
  • Only FIFA inspected and authorized stadiums can hold the matches and host preliminary or main competitions in the affiliated countries or the hosting countries. Only FIFA inspected footballs can be used for the competition.

General Specifications of the game are listed below.

  • For international games, fields must have 100-110 meters x 64-75 meters dimension.
  • The fields should have marked goal areas, side-lines and touch lines, halfway lines and penalty areas. Flag Posts have to be planted.
  • Footballs must be inspected and should be 8.6 inches to 9 inches in diameter. They should weigh 400-450 grams.
  • Each team has 11 players and the goalkeeper.


Governing Bodies in the world of Football

These organizations protect, promote, design and implement laws of Football.



Established in 1904, FIFA was founded by several European countries to promote association football and to establish common rules for the game.

The organization has over 209 national associations, including the Indian governing body. FIFA is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It is noted for organizing the World Cup since 1930 and Women’s World Cup since 1991.

International Football Association Board

Serving worldwide, the International Football Association Board was established in 1886 and is responsible for determining laws of the game for association football. The body is the guardian of the rules of the game and is a separate body from FIFA, although the board holds 50 percent of the voting rights in this organization.

All India Football Federation

AFC is the Indian branch of football governance, which was formed before independence in 1937. However, the organization only achieved the FIFA affiliation after independence. The government body has been a part of FIFA since 1948 and has organized several tournaments over the years. It is also the organizer of u-17 World Cup FIFA in 2017. It is also the founding member of Asian Football Confederation.

Championships Across the World

Want to know the tournaments you can play? Check out this list!



FIFA World Cup

Organized since 1930, FIFA world cup is the international association football competition where national teams of senior male members compete for a trophy. 209 teams are eligible for the competition, however only 32 teams compete for the main event. India qualified by default for the World Cup 1950 but couldn’t participate due to lack of shoes, administrative issues and other problems.


Santosh Trophy

The national level competition was founded in 1941 and is played every year. The tournament is organized to promote the game on national and international level. A new format is now recommended for introducing zonal competitions before the major event.

Federation Cup

Hero Federation Cup is organized since 1997 and has 10 teams that compete. These teams include football clubs from all over the country. However, the game is on hold since 2015 to promote Indian Super League, which is a newly launched format that promotes the game on a larger level.


Personalities with a Name in Football

Baichung Bhutia


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The 39 year old Indian footballer players the striker and is considered the torchbearer of Indian football team. He is one of the best players in the country and over the years he has won several tournaments.

He has played for East Bengal Club where he began his career. He was also a part of reality television series. Currently, he is working with Indian Super League to promote competition on international level.

Peter Thangaraj

Peter was one of the most legendary players in the history of Indian Football. He has played for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan Sports Club for several years. He was also the Best goalkeeper in Asia in 1958. Before his death in 2008, Peter was responsible for promoting football among general population. He was also one of the stars of Indian Football Team during the golden period in 20th century.

Sunil Chhetri




Another feather in the hat of Indian football team is Sunil, who once played soccer for a USA based football club. Since then, this Indian striker has come a long way and has played for the Nehru Cup and SAFF championships. He was also one of the leading players to sign a multi-sports club with Portuguese Sporting Club.

At YoGems, we can help you get in touch with some of the best Football coaches and instructors! If you have a story to share or need some more guidance on this sport, then feel free to leave a comment below!



Shivangi Gupta is a Content Writer Expert at YoGems. With years of experience in writing blogs, articles and guides, she writes about every sport. Also, she is good at sports and expert in shooting and won numerable awards at various events. She started receiving shooting training under her father at the age of 6. To get updated with her posts, stay tuned to the website.