The Creation and Unification of the Game of Soccer

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Humans has created a lot of ball games, since antiquity. It is known that this sport existed both in the culture of the Mediterranean Sea and in America. The oldest and most revealing finding dates back to a relief from Ancient Greece 400 BC, where a man dominates a ball on his thigh. This sport was episkyros that was played with a leather ball painted with bright colors always and two teams of 12 to 14 players but no more players than 14. The FIFA recognized him as one of the oldest forms of football today. In Rome received the name of harpastum.

In Europe, already at the end of the Middle Ages and later centuries, various team games were developed in the British Isles and surrounding areas, which were known as soccer codes. These codes were uniting with the passage of time, but in the second half of the seventeenth century when the first great unifications of football, which later gave rise to football were given rugby, the football, the Australian football and sport that today is known in much of the world as football. In other areas of the world, games were also practiced in which a ball was driven with the feet. Among them we can mention the Jesuit Reductions of the Guaraní zone, more specifically in that of San Ignacio Miní in the seventeenth century, in the region that is now known as Misiones. The Spanish Jesuit José Manuel Peramás wrote in his book De vita et moribus tredecim virorum paraguaycorum: «They also used to play with a ball, which, although full of rubber, was so light and fast that, every time they hit it, it continued to bounce some time, without stopping, driven by its own weight. They did not throw the ball with the hand, like us, but with the upper part of the foot naked, passing it and receiving it with great agility and precision».

The first British codes were characterized by having few rules and by their extreme violence. One of the most popular was carnival football. For this reason, carnival football was banned in England by decree of King Edward III and was banned for 500 years. Carnival football was not the only code of the time; In fact, there were other codes that were more organized, less violent and even developed outside the British Isles. One of the best known games was the Florentine calcium, originally from the city of Florence that is ubicated in Italy. This sport influenced in several aspects the current football, not only for its rules, but also for the party atmosphere in which these games were played.

Unifications of the 19th Century

The British schools were divided against the Rugby Code; while several decided to follow him, others decided to reject him because in them the practice was not to touch the ball with his hand. Among these last schools wer of Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Charterhouse and Westminster. In the mid- nineteenth century, the first steps were taken to unify all the codes of football into one. The first attempt was in 1848, when at the University of Cambridge, Henry de Winton and John Charles Thring appealed to members of other schools to regulate a new code, the Cambridge Code, also known as the Cambridge Rules. The rules presented an important resemblance to the rules of current football. Perhaps the most important of all was the limitation of the hands to touch the ball, passing the responsibility of moving it to the feet. The objective of the game was to pass a ball between two vertical poles and underneath a ribbon that united them, and the team that scored the most goals was the winner. Even a rule was created out of play similar to the present. The original 1848 documents were lost, but a copy of the 1856 rules is retained. Between 1857 and 1878 a football code was used that would also bring features to modern football: the Sheffield Code, also known as the Sheffield Rules. The code, created by Nathaniel Creswick and William Perst, adopted rules that are reflected in current football, such as the use of a crossbar (horizontal post) of rigid material, instead of the tape that was used so far. The use of free throws, corner kicks and throw-ins was also adopted as methods of resumption of the game.

While these unifications of football achieved several advances for the creation of modern football, it is considered that the day of his birth is on October 26, 1866, when The Football Association met for the first time. On that day, Ebenezer Cobb Morley began a series of six meetings between twelve clubs from different London schools in the Freemason’s Tavern, with the aim of creating a universal and definitive football code that would be accepted by the majority.

Finalized meetings, December 8, eleven of the twelve clubs reached consensus to establish 14 rules of the new code, which would be called football association (association football in English), to differentiate it from other codes of football season. Only the Blackheath club refused to create these rules, which would later become one of the creators of another famous sport, rugby.

The regulation used as a basis for football was the Cambridge Code, except for two points of it, which were considered very important for the current codes: the use of hands to move the ball and the use of tackles (physical contact brusque to take the ball from the opponent) against the opponents. This was the reason for the abandonment of the Black club.

Along with the creation of the new code, the Football Association (FA) was created, the governing body of football in England to this day. At that time, the students of the English schools developed the abbreviations ‘rugger’ and ‘soccer’ (derived from ‘as association’), to designate both sports: rugby and soccer, respectively. With this last term, football is mostly known in the United States.

Most Important Championships

Selections

At the level of national teams, the most important tournament is the Soccer World Cup, which has been held since 1930. Prior to the creation of the World Cup, particularly during the 1920, the Olympic football competition was considered the highest competition in the sport, although it is currently maintained as a secondary tournament where players under 23 are allowed, with up to 3 players that exceed that age limit per team. At the women’s level, the equivalent of the World Cup is the Women’s World Cup. At the level of confederations of FIFA, the most important tournaments are the Copa America (South America ) and the Euro (Europe); and, being located at a lower level, are the African Cup Of Nations (Africa), the Gold Cup of Concacaf (North America, Central America and the Caribbean ), the Asian Cup ( Asia ) and the Nation Cup of the OFC (Oceania). The most important tournament for young players is the U-20 Soccer World Cup, which receives teams classified from the South America U-20 Championships. (South America), the European U-19 Championship (Europe), the CAF Youth Championship (Africa), the U-20 Championships of Concacaf (North America, Central and the Caribbean), AFC Youth Championship (Asia) and the OFC U-20 Championships (Oceania).

Clubs

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In each country football clubs usually federate in associations or leagues that organize official tournaments between them, where the champions of each country emerge and the teams that will participate in international tournaments. There is no single tournament system and each national league organizes them according to their traditions. In general, most countries have two main tournaments a year: Colombia (Opening and Closing) (the season starts according to the European calendar), Mexico (idem but in the reserve order), Chile (National Tournament and Chile Cup), Spain (League and Copa Del Rey), and Italy (Series A and Copa Italia), etc. In some cases the champions of both tournaments play annual ‘supercopas’ and ‘recopas’ with each other. England has a main championship system (the Premier League) and then several cups involving teams from different divisions. Brazil has a system of championships by State (paulista, carioca, mineiro, gaucho, etc.), besides having a National Championship (Brasilerao). In Mexico there is only one annual championship divided into two semiannual tournaments (Opening and Closing). At a global level, the most important competition is the FIFA World Cup that has been held since 2000 and in which the champions of the different conferences that make up FIFA take part. At the continental level, the most important competitions are the Copa Libertadores de America (South America), the UEFA Champions League (Europe), the CAF Champions League (Africa), the Concacaf Champions League (North America, central and the Caribbean), the AFC Champions League (Asia) and the OFC Champions League (Oceania). Also at a continental level, the secondary competitions of South America and Europe Stand Out: the Sudamerica and the Europa League (ex), respectively. In some cases clubs of other confederations are invited to competitions of a certain confederation. For example, in the case of the participation of Mexican teams affiliated with CONCACAF in the Copa Libertadores de América, organized by CONMEBOL.

Organizations of Football

The governing body of football at the international level is the Federation, better known by its FIFA acronym, based in Zurich, Switzerland. Said organism considers 5 main points to guarantee the good development of the sport: to improve the soccer from its universal, educational and cultural character, as well as to improve the human values that raises the same; organize sports competitions; develop a regulation to maintain the spirit of the game; control the different forms of football, adopting measures to improve them; and prevent certain practices that affect the essence of the sport.

FIFA does not focus solely on the organizational details of the sport, but also promotes improvements in the football infrastructure of each country, particularly the poorest, through the Goal Program. The same inculcates tactical, technical, health and organizational aspects to the populations of these countries, helping them to grow in football. The program does not finance the construction of stadiums, but it does do so with training grounds, training material and office elements for the associations. Currently, 185 national associations benefit from the program, which has completed or is working on a total of 292 projects. Due to the constant growth of FIFA, six regional confederations have been created throughout history, whose objectives are similar to those of FIFA. They are responsible for coordinating all aspects of sport in each region. For an association to be a member of a confederation, it does not necessarily belong to FIFA.

In turn, within each confederation there are football associations, which represent a country and, in some cases, a territory or state not internationally recognized. Except in exceptional cases, there is only one association per country or territory, and if there is more than one, only one may be affiliated with your confederation. In some cases the main association of the country has affiliates other sub associations to help in the organization of football. Each association organizes the soccer of its country independently of its confederation, but in some cases, for example to classify clubs to international matches, these clubs must be endorsed by the association before the confederation. In some cases, a team may be directly or indirectly affiliated with an association without being affiliated with a confederation. We must also mention the NF-BOARD, an organization that brings together unaffiliated associations or FIFA, or any of its confederations. The vast majority of their associations belong to territories and states not politically recognized internationally.

Duration and Result of Soccer

The duration of a match, specified in Rule 7 of the regulation, will be two equal times of 45 minutes, with an intermediate period of rest that may not exceed 15 minutes, and the duration of the regulation of each competition must be established. The duration of each half of time can only be altered if the rules of the competition permit, and if there is agreement between the referee and the two participating teams before the start of the match. The time lost during the match dispute must be recovered at the end of each period, with the duration of these recovery periods remaining at the discretion of the main referee.

The goal of the sport is to score more goals than the opponent. It is considered that a team has scored a goal when the ball completely passes the goal line between the vertical posts and below the horizontal post of the opponent’s goal, provided that a breach of the rules of the game has not been committed previously. The goal is the only way to score in football, something that does not happen in other soccer codes. If both teams score the same amount of goals, the game is considered tied. In many cases, when the match ends in a draw, you must find some way that one of the two teams is considered the winner of the match, and to achieve this there are several ways. If the match ends tied, you can play an extension or overtime, which consists of two times, usually 15 minutes each, where the initial match is continued. In addition, there are two ways in which the extension can culminate ahead of time: the Golden goal and the silver goal, although these forms have been left aside in recent years.

If equality persists, a series of penalty kicks or penalties will be executed. The same is that each team throw penalties alternately to total 5 each. If at the end of the 10 penalties or penalties the equality persists, a team penalty will continue until a winner is defined. The use of extra time and penalty kicks is a format widely used in modern football, the main exponent of this being the elimination phases of the final phase of the World Cup. In some competitions it is passed to the execution of penalties directly after the culmination of the initial match, without using the extension. A clear example of this system are the eliminatory phases of the Copa America.

In all these examples a single match was played, but there are other tournaments where the eliminatory phases are played to two matches, the so-called round-trips. To determine if the key (both matches) ended in a draw, the goals are added in favor of both teams in both games, and if they give the same, it is said that the key ended in a draw. In some cases, if the key is tied, a tiebreaker system with overtime or penalty kicks is used, which is executed at the end of the second game of the key.

In some knockout stages another form of tie-break prior to the extension or penalties is considered: the goals of visitors. If at the end of both games no team has beaten the other in goals in favor, the number of goals scored by each team in the match that he played as a visitor will be counted. If a team scored more goals at the end of both matches, it will be the winner of the key, but if equality persists also in the visitors’ goals, the extra time or penalties will be applied. An example of this system are the eliminatory phases of the Copa Libertadores de America and the UEFA Champions League.

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