How to Play Football? – Football Rules and Regulations

How to Play Football? – Football Rules and Regulations

Football, also known as soccer, is one of the most recognized sports in the world. It is not only the oldest sport but also the most popular game in numbers of spectators and participants. You might have seen people in your office or party talking about football matches. But if you don’t know football rules, it can be quite difficult for you to be a part of the conversation. 

Relax! Here is an article with basic football rules, including the players, penalties, and game format.

What is Football?

Football is also known as association football or soccer. In this game, two teams of eleven players, using all the parts of the body except their arms and hands. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball using hands and is permitted to do only in the penalty area. 

Both the teams try to maneuver the ball into the goal of the opposing team. The team who scores more goals finally wins the game. 

The popularity of football in terms of interest and participation is continuously increasing. In 2018, around 7% of Americans cited soccer as their preferred sport to watch (Source). The rules of football can be complicated and vary on the basis of the level of the game. 

Object of the Game

Football is a timed sport. The aim of the football game is to score more goals as compared to the opposite team within a timeframe of ninety minutes. The complete match is split into two halves of 45 minutes each. After the first half or 45 minutes, the players take a rest period of 15 minutes called half time. The second half of the game begins after the break. 

Football Players & Equipment

According to the rules of football, each team consists of eleven players, including ten outfield players and one goalkeeper. The dimension of the pitch varies according to the ground, but usually, it is 75 yards wide and 120 yards long. 

Each pitch consists of a box of around 6 yards next to the goalmouth, one 18 yard box which surrounds a center circle, and the 6-yard box. On the football pitch, each half part should be a mirror image of the other half part in terms of dimensions. 

The equipment that is needed for a football match is a football and a pitch. Moreover, the players need to wear studded football boots, matching strips, and shin pads. The goalkeeper has to wear padded gloves as they have to handle the ball and stop it from entering the goal. Each team has one designated captain. 


In order to score in football, the ball has to enter into the opponent’s goal. For a legitimate goal, the whole ball requires to be over the line. Players can score a goal from any part of the body apart from the arm or hands. The goal comprises a frame measuring 8 yards wide and 8 feet high. 

Winning the Game

The team that scores the maximum goal is the winner. Players need to use their feet in order to kick the ball. They are prohibited from using their hands. However, goalkeepers can use their whole body within the eighteen-yard box in order to stop the ball. If there is a tie after 90 minutes, then it can go to extra time. Infect the players get a penalty shootout in order to decide the winner. 

Football Penalties

A lot of penalties are enforced during a football match. Most penalties lead to gain or loss of yardage depending on the fact whether the penalty is against the defense or offense. The severity of a penalty in the match defines the yards. ‘

Most penalties in the game of football are 5 or 10 yards. However, some personal foul penalties can lead to 15 yards. In addition to this, a pass interference can lead to a penalty similar to the length of the intended pass. The team that has not committed the penalty has the right to decline it. Below mentioned are some common penalties.

  • False Start – It is a five-yard penalty. It happens when a player on the offense moves just before the snap. 
  • Holding – When any football player grabs the other player without the ball with the hand or tackles him or hooks him, then it is a penalty.
  • Offside – It happens when a player from the defense or offense is present on the wrong side of the scrimmage line at the time of the snap. 
  • Facemask – In order to protect the football players, one can not grab the facemask of other players.
  • Intentional Grounding – When the player passing the ball throws it nowhere near the eligible player to avoid being sacked. 

Football Rules and Regulations

The rules and regulations of football are updated manually by the members of the International Football Association. Below mentioned are some basic football rules and regulations. 

  • Each match consists of 90 minutes. It has two halves of 45 minutes and a rest period of 15 minutes. 
  • Each team consists of a minimum of 11 players, including one goalkeeper. A minimum of seven players is required to constitute a match. 
  • A football field is made of either natural or artificial grass. The size of the pitch can vary from 50-100 yards in width and 100-130 yards long. The pitch is marked with a rectangular shape outside, which shows the boundary. It also includes two boxes of six yards and two boxes of 18 yards, and a center circle. A penalty spot is placed at a distance of 12 yards from both of the goals. Moreover, the center circle should also be visible.
  • The ball should be circular in shape with a circumference of around 58-61cm.
  • Each team has seven substitute players, and substitution can be made at any time of the game. Each team is allowed to make a maximum of three substitute players per side. 
  • If the game needs to be extended due to a tie, then 30 minutes are added extra in the form of two halves of 15 minutes. 
  • After extra time, if there is a tie, then a penalty shootout is allowed.
  • For a goal, the whole ball needs to cross the goal line.
  • In the case of fouls, the committed players can receive either red or yellow cards according to the severity of the foul. It is decided according to the referee’s discretion. A yellow card is a warning, whereas a red card is for the dismissal of the player. Two yellow cards are equal to one red card. When players are sent off, they can not be replaced.

Final Words

Football is an amazing game and has a wide range of fan following. People love football players who have created a history. Now that you know football rules, you can enjoy watching or playing the game. Moreover, you can also become a part of the conversations about football. Do share your experience with us by dropping a comment. 


rashmi saini

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