Among the world’s most popular ball games is football. Its popularity has soared in the past century. There are estimated to be approximately 250 million players worldwide. The game is governed internationally by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA oversees the FIFA World Cup. In 2010, a combined television audience of 26 billion watched the World Cup finals.
In the early 20th century, the game spread throughout Europe. During this time, the leading clubs began charging admission to their fans. The clubs benefited from a large fan base and the capacity to attract skilled players. However, the issue of professionalism reached a crisis in England in the 1880s. Professionalism would provide a financial reward for players who suffered injuries.
After the formation of the Football Association in 1863, a set of laws was adopted to govern the game. The laws, called Laws of the Game, were designed to apply to all levels of football.
The laws are divided into 17 rules. The rules are often framed in broad terms, which allows flexibility in their application. In some cases, specific groups may be allowed to change the rules.
A standard adult football game involves two periods of 45 minutes each. The team with the fewest penalties usually wins.
The goalkeeper is responsible for protecting the goal. He cannot play the ball with his arms in the penalty area. If a goalkeeper touches the ball with his hands while in the penalty area, he is penalized.