What is football?

Principles of the game

Football pits two teams of eleven players against each other on a rectangular pitch 90 to 120 meters long and 45 to 90 meters wide. For international matches, the dimensions of the field are reduced from 64 to 75 meters wide for 100 to 110 meters long.

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The objective is to make penetrate a spherical balloon of 68 to 70 cm of circumference for a weight of 410 to 450 grams in a long goal of 7.32 m by 2.44 m in height. The goal is considered scored when the ball has completely crossed the goal line drawn on the ground between the two posts.


The only player allowed to use his hands is the goalkeeper in his penalty area. In this same area, a fault usually sanctioned by a direct free kick, is by a penalty kick (penalty). The latter is executed on a point located 11 meters from the goal line. In addition to hand faults, the other faults relate mainly to unsportsmanlike behavior and contacts between players.

Tackling is allowed, but regulated. A tackle from behind is thus punished with a red card synonymous with expulsion. In the event of a less serious fault, a yellow card may be given by the referee to the offending player. If this player receives a second yellow card during the same game, he is sent off.

The offside rule forces attackers not to just wait for balls behind defense. For a player to be in play, there must always be at least two players (usually the goalkeeper and a defender) between him and the opposing goal line. The assistant referee signals with a flag the offside which is judged at the start of the ball, that is to say at the moment when the passer makes his pass, and not at the arrival of the ball in the feet of the ‘attacker.

The match lasts 90 minutes in two 45-minute halves interspersed with a quarter-hour break. During certain cup matches which must designate a winner or a qualifier (one can qualify in return matches without necessarily winning the return match), an extension of two times fifteen minutes is disputed. At the end of this period, in the event of a tie, shots on goal decide between the two teams.


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