During the early modern period, many industrial workers turned to a new sport – football. The game evolved in Britain, closely linked to industrialization and urbanization.
Football is governed internationally by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA’s World Cup is the most popular international football competition. It is held every four years. In the 21st century, more than 200 nations are members of FIFA.
In modern times, most countries operate cup competitions during the season. The top teams are declared champions. The losing teams are relegated to a lower division. The top teams also may be eligible to compete in international club competitions.
The most popular forms of the game are professional football, youth football and college football. These leagues require athletes to be certain age groups to play.
Some countries have lower divisions featuring part-time players. The top divisions feature highly paid star players.
The most widely viewed sports event is the World Cup. The 2010 World Cup has a combined television audience of 26 billion people.
The National Football League has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league. The league has an annual revenue of around $15 billion.
During the late 19th century, the leading clubs began charging spectators for their games. The increasing popularity of the game eroded public interest in other sports. As a result, the sport prompted rioting during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.
Since the mid-20th century, professional leagues have sprung up in countries throughout Europe and South America. The players are usually tied into long-term contracts with clubs. The game is governed internationally by FIFA, which requires agents to pass written examinations held by national associations.