Game in which two 11-member teams try to propel a ball into the opposing team's goal, using any part of the body except the hands and arms. Only the goalkeeper, when positioned within the penalty area in front of the goal, may use hands and arms. The game's first uniform set of rules was put in place in 1863, when England's Football Association was created. Professional leagues began appearing in the late 1880s, first in England and then in other countries. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904, and has hosted the World Cup every four years since 1930. Football has been included in the Olympic Games since 1908. Now played on all continents in over 200 countries, with over 250 million players, it is the world's most popular ball game. See alsoAustralian Rules football; Gaelic football; football, gridiron; and rugby.
Variants of FOOTBALL
football or association football or soccer
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on football, visit Britannica.com.