Rules of Football in India - Informative & researched article on Rules of Football in India
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Home > Sports > Indian Football > Indian Football > Rules of Football in India
Rules of Football in India
Rules of Football help and guide the players to play properly in a fair manner. Football has its own rules and regulations maintaining the true spirit of the game.
 AIFF logoThe official rule of Indian football helps the players to play the game in free manner. It will give the foot ball player to play with ethics. The football match is played in 2 halves of 45 minutes each. There are several rules in the sport of football regarding the players, penalties, field, offence and defence. One of the important rules of Indian football is to maintain the stipulated size of the field. As per international standard, the length of the rectangular football field (pitch) is in the range of 100 to 110 m (110 to 120 yards) and the width is in the range of 65 to 75 m (70 to 80 yards). There are two teams which compete against one another in a football match and each team is required to have 11 members. Each team comprises of one goal-keeper, mid-fielders, forwards and defenders. The goalkeeper always stays within a specified area. Each of the teams tries to score a goal, and prevent the opponent from doing so, throughout the match.

Apart from the goalkeeper, none of the other players in a team is allowed to touch the ball with their hands. Even the goalkeeper is also allowed to touch the ball with hands, except within the specified penalty box.

Fairplay in Football
Alongside the laws of the game, FIFA advocates a Fair Play programme. Based around a number of rules, typically involving abstract ideas, they are intended to inform footballers and spectators on proper behaviour on and off the field. These are mentioned below-
* Play fair on the field.
* Play to win but accept defeat properly.
* Observe the Laws of the Game.
* Respect everyone involved in the game.
* Promote football's interests.
* Honour those who defend football's reputation.
* Reject any corruption, drugs, racism, violence and other harmful vices.
* Help others to do exactly the same.
* Denounce any who discredits the integrity of football.
* Use football to make a better world.

Football in India Basics of Football
At the basic level, football is a game with two teams of 11 players, played over the course of 90 minutes. This period is split into two 45-minute halves. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposition. The term goal refers to two areas either side of the field, defended by the goalkeeper of respective teams. A goal is scored by depositing the ball to the opponent's area.

Laws of the Game-

Field of Play
Football can be played on a natural or artificial (like Astroturf) surface. However, the shape of the field must be rectangular, with the dimensions of 90-120 metres long by 45-90 metres wide. Notably, the guidelines for international matches are stricter (100-110 metres X 64-75 metres).
* Goal Area: Starts 5.5 metres from each goalpost and extends 5.5 metres out, with the two lines joining vertically
* Penalty Area: Starts 16.5 metres from each goalpost and extends 16.5 metres out, with the two lines joining vertically.
* Flag post: Placed at each corner, with a quarter-circle on the field (1 metre in radius).
* Goals: 7.32 metre area between the posts, and 2.44 metres high. The posts cannot exceed 5 inches in width.

The Ball
The ball is naturally spherical, with a circumference of 27-28 inches and weight of 410 and 450 grams. The can be made of leather or any similar material as well.

Number of Players
One of the 11 players is classified as the goalkeeper and permitted to handle the ball in his team's penalty area. The eleven players are supplemented by the option to bring on a maximum of three substitutes from a pre-decided list of three to seven players (the number of substitutes permitted is slightly higher for international friendly matches). In order to bring on a substitute, the referee must first be informed and then there has to be a break in the play (for example, a free-kick or a throw-in). The substitute then comes on as a replacement for one of the 11 current players.

Field of Play Equipments
Basic equipment is the team jersey, shorts, shin guards with socks and studded boots or trainers depending on the surface. The goalkeeper is also permitted gloves and a different coloured jersey for identification purposes.

The referee adjudicates the match in collaboration with two linesmen (properly referred to as referee's assistants) and a fourth official, situated on the touchline, if necessary. The referee's tasks include acting as a timekeeper (although with advice on the amount of 'injury time' to be added on to the 45 minutes each half to compensate for injuries and other stoppages), awarding free kicks and penalties and generally dealing with anything requiring a ruling. He can also choose to allow play to proceed in case of a foul, providing there is an 'advantage' to be gained by the team against which the foul has been committed.

Duration of the Match
The match officially lasts 90 minutes, segmented into two 45-minute halves with a half-time interval of no longer than 15 minutes. In the knock-out stages of competitions, extra-time is used if there is no winner after 90 minutes. This extra period is 30 minutes, split into two 15 minute halves. If extra-time does not find a winner, then a penalty shoot-out takes place, where five players from each team are selected and alternate shots on goal from the penalty spot against the opposition goalkeeper. In that instance, the team with the most successful penalties is declared the winner. If they are still tied then they will move on to sudden-death penalties, where each team will take one penalty until one of the two sides has scored more than the other after the side amount of spot kicks.

Start and Restart of Play
A coin toss takes place just before the game starts, the winner of which will get the choice of choosing which end to attack or whether to kick-off. Should the team choose to kick-off then the other captain will be allowed elect which end to attack in the first half. The kick-off is also used after a goal has been scored, the task befalling the team who has conceded, and for both halves of extra-time. At the kick-off, players from each side must all be in their half of the field. The actual kick-off takes place on the centre spot in the centre circle. The player who kicks off cannot touch it again until another player has made contact.

Off side Offside
The perennial problem for newcomers in football is to understand the offside rule. This is made somewhat harder by the fact there are two elements to offside in football; being in an offside position, and committing an offside offence. To be in an offside position is to be closer to the opponent's goal than the last opposition outfield player (therefore excluding the goalkeeper) and the ball. However, to commit an offside offence is to have the ball played forward towards you while in that position. As such, you can be in an offside position and not commit an offside offence.

Punishment for Offences
If the single infraction is deemed serious enough or the culprit persistently offends during a match, the referee can choose to take extra action against a particular individual:
* Yellow Card- A caution given to a player. If two of these cards are shown to the same player, it means a...Red Card or marching order from the field.
* Red Card - Showing a red card to a player means he/she is expelled from the match. A straight red card (no previous caution) can be shown for extreme offences such as serious foul play, violent conduct, spitting, deliberate hand-ball to prevent a goal, a professional foul (denying a goal scoring opportunity) and insulting language and/or gestures.

Corner Kick Free Kicks
Whenever a free kick is taken, the opposition must be at least 10 yards away from the ball until it is delivered. If this rule is not adhered to, the kick is retaken. There are two types of free kick:
* Direct Free Kick - Allows the team to take a direct shot at the opponent's goal.
* Indirect Free Kick - A direct strike on goal is not permitted, meaning any shot must come from the second player to touch the ball after the kick is taken.

If a direct strike is successfully made on goal, a goal kick to the opposition is given. An indirect free kick is awarded for any foul which is dangerous or impedes an opponent.

Goal Kick
When the ball is passed over the goal line, excluding that portion between the goal posts, either in the air or on the ground, having last been played by one of the attacking team, it is kicked direct into play beyond the penalty area from a point within that half of the goal area nearest to where it crossed the line, by a player of the defending team. A goal keeper will not get the ball into his hands from a goal kick in order that he may thereafter kick it into play. If the ball is not kicked beyond the penalty area, the kick is retaken. The kicker will not play the ball a second time until it has touched or been played by another player. A goal is not scored direct from such a kick. The team opposing that of the player taking the goal kick remains exterior of the penalty area until the ball has been kicked out of the penalty area.

Penalty Kick
A penalty kick is decided by the refree for offences taking place in the penalty and goal area. A nominated member of the team awarded the penalty is allowed a strike at goal from the penalty spot, with only the goalkeeper to beat. The goalkeeper must remain on his line until the ball has been kicked, and all other players must be outside the area behind the penalty spot. After he has taken the kick, he cannot strike the ball again without another player touching the ball.

A throw-in is awarded when the whole ball crosses the touch line (conceded by the team who last touched the ball). It is delivered off the field of play with both hands and from behind and over the deliverer's head. Otherwise it is deemed to be a 'foul throw' and a throw-in is given to the opposition. It cannot go direct to the goalkeeper's hands (if on the same team) and you cannot score directly from a throw-in.

Corner Kick
A Corner kick is awarded once the whole ball crosses the goal line of the opposition, after last touching one of their players. Taken from the corner of whichever side the ball exited the field, in the prescribed quarter-circle space. Opponents must be 10 yards from the corner arc and the kicker cannot touch the ball a second time without contact from someone else beforehand (or the opponent receives an indirect free kick).

Rules of football are, thus, set to help players to play the game safely and with good spirit.

(Last Updated on : 04/09/2013)
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