Football is the name given to a number of different, but related, team sports. By far the most popular of these worldwide is Association football, which also goes by the name of soccer. The English language word football is also applied to Rugby football (Rugby union and Rugby league), North American football (American and Canadian), Australian rules football, and Gaelic football. Some of the many different codes of football.
While it is widely believed that the word football, or “foot ball”, originated in reference to the action of a foot kicking a ball, there is a rival explanation, which has it that football originally referred to a variety of games in medieval Europe, which were played on foot. These games were usually played by peasants, as opposed to the horse-riding sports often played by aristocrats. While there is no conclusive evidence for this explanation, the word football has always implied a variety of games played on foot, not just those that involved kicking a ball. In some cases, the word football has been applied to games which have specifically outlawed kicking the ball.
All football games involve scoring with a spherical or ellipsoidal ball (itself called a football), by moving the ball into, onto, or over a goal area or line defended by the opposing team. Many of the modern games have their origins in England, but many peoples around the world have played games which involved kicking and/or carrying a ball since ancient times.
The object of all football games is to advance the ball by kicking, running with, or passing and catching, either to the opponent’s end of the field where points or goals can be scored by, depending on the game, putting the ball across the goal line between posts and under a crossbar, putting the ball between upright posts (and possibly over a crossbar), or advancing the ball across the opponent’s goal line while maintaining possession of the ball.
In all football games, the winning team is the one that has the most points or goals when a specified length of time has elapsed.
- Mandelbaum, Michael (2004); The Meaning of Sports; Public Affairs, ISBN 1586482521
- Green, Geoffrey (1953); The History of the Football Association; Naldrett Press, London
- Williams, Graham (1994); The Code War; Yore Publications, ISBN 1874427658
- Professional Football Researchers Association Origins of Football
- Rugby chronology. Museum of Rugby. Retrieved on April 24, 2006.
- Wilfried Gerhardt, “The colourful history of a fascinating game” (from the FIFA website)