Football can easily be termed as one of the most popular Sports in the world today. Played since ancient times, this is a game of endurance and strength as much as agility and flexibility. There are a number of references in history, where some sort of prehistoric game involving a ball was played by indigenous people in various parts of the world.
In contemporary times, the lineage of football can be traced down to English Public School in the 19thcentury, from where it spread to different parts of colonial empire and Europe with the expansion of the British Empire. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, which led the way for the many professional football competitions to follow. Today, the European and the Latin American countries are especially known for their prowess in this particular Sport.
The game of football is played for 90 minutes by two teams, each having eleven players. The players kick around and man oeuvre the ball to place it inside the goal post at both ends of the field which is defended by the goal-keepers of the two rival teams. It is pertinent to note over here that only the gaol keeper is allowed to defend the ball by the use of his hands while the rest can only use their feet or head to place the ball. The team, which ultimately scores the maximum goals is declared the winner.
The referee is given the authority to conduct the game in conformity with the existing rules and are placed one on each side of the field. The referee can issue warnings to the players for committing foul or using their hands and as a penalty, a yellow card is handed out to the defaulter or free kick is awarded to the rival team. Red Cards and Penalties are for the repeat and serious offenders. A penalty shot has over 50% chance of being converted in a goal while a Red Card, depending on how much time is left for the finish of the game can place a team in major disadvantageous position.
Football is a game of International repute. The World Cup of Football is played every four years, hosted by different countries across the globe. Pele of Brazil, Diego Maradona of Argentina, Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zidane are some of the formidable players of this game who have brought international repute to this Sport and increased its fan base manifold. The orgasmic appeal of the game is the essence of its passion and for many across the world, football is a religion a way of life, a matter of life and death.
In India, Football has enjoyed immense popularity especially in the State of West Bengal, Goa, Kerala and North-Eastern India with Women’s Football also emerging as a strong force to reckon with in the recent years. It is unfortunate however, that in India hockey and football has always dwelt in the shadows of the overwhelmingly more popular game of Cricket but encouragement to budding players at micro level and a more intense and well-informed media coverage could do a lot assuage the situation.