Football (also known as association football) is a sport that is played by two teams of eleven players. The team with the most goals wins the match. Players pass the ball between their team members and attempt to kick the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
A referee calls out the plays and acts as a timekeeper. Assistants also patrol the touchlines and signal when a player is offside.
The game was played in Scotland as early as the 15th century. However, it was not until the 18th century that the formal rules of football were developed. This development is linked to the industrialization of Britain in the Victorian era.
In the 1870s, leading clubs began charging admission to spectators. This provided them with the financial incentive to pay illegal wages to skilled players.
In the United Kingdom, working class people often had Saturday afternoons off from work, which gave them the opportunity to play football. Many of them sought a professional system.
In the late 19th century, the British model introduced a hierarchy of leagues. The highest-performing club was promoted to the next higher division. The bottom clubs were moved down to the next lower division.
The Football Association was formed in 1863 to govern the game. It produced a set of printed rules.
After a long period of decline, the sport’s popularity grew. World Cup competitions are now held every four years. FIFA’s estimates are that there are around 250 million players worldwide.