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Soccer Laws – 1863 and Today

Law No. 1- The Field of Play
The field must be rectangular with the touch lines being longer than the goal lines. The length of the field must be between 100 and 130 yards (90-120 meters). The width of the field shall be between 50 and 100 yards (45-90 meters). For international matches, the length of the field must be between 110 and 120 yards (100-110 meters) and the width between 70 and 80 yards (64-75 meters).

In the Laws of 1863, the ground, as it was called could be up to 100 yards wide and 200 yards long.

The goal posts are eight feet apart and the cross bar is eight feet above the ground. The goal posts and cross bars must be white and the goal must be securely anchored to the ground. Nets may be attached to the goal.

Originally, the goal had no cross bar.

Law No. 2- The Ball
The ball must be spherical and made of leather or other suitable material. The circumference shall be between 27 and 28 inches (68-70 centimeters). The ball shall weigh between 14 and 16 ounces (410-450 grams).

The type or size of ball is not mentioned in the 1863 Laws.

Law No. 3- The Number of Players
Each team may have no more than 11 players including the goalkeeper. A match may not start if either team has fewer than seven players.

Up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any official competition. In other matches, up to six substitutes may be used.

No limit was set on the number of players in 1863.

Law No. 4- The Players Equipment
Each player is required to wear a jersey or shirt, shorts, socks, shin guards and shoes. Socks must completely cover the shin guards. Goalkeepers must wear a color different from either team or any official. No player may wear any item that could cause danger, including any type of jewelry.

The only stipulations regarding a player’s equipment in 1863 prohibited the use of “projecting nails, iron plates or gutta percha on the soles or heels of his boots.” Gutta percha is a type of rubber.

Law No. 5- The Referee
Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game. Powers and duties of the referee include controlling the game, ensuring that all equipment meets standards, keeping the official game time and calling any infractions. The decisions of the referee are final.

In 1863, soccer was considered a gentlemen’s game. The original rules did not address any type of officiating. Gentlemen, it was thought, could police their own games.

Law No. 6- The Assistant Referees
Two assistant referees officiate each match. They are positioned along the sidelines and are responsible to indicate when the entire ball has passed out of the field of play. They assistant referees also indicate which team is to take a throw in or corner kick and when a team requests a substitution. The assistant referees call the offside penalty.

Law No. 7- Duration of the Match
A match shall consist of two 45-minute halves, unless the opposing team and the referee agree to alter the duration before play begins. A half-time interval of no more than 15 minutes is allowed. The referee may add time to the game to make up for time lost to substitutions, injuries or other causes.

The original laws did not address the duration of play.

Law No. 8- The Start and Restart of Play
A coin is tossed before the start of play. The team that wins the coin toss chooses which goal it will attack during the first half. The other team takes the kickoff. For a kickoff, the ball is placed in the center of the field. Opposing players must be at least 10 yards from the ball. (A 10-yard circle is marked around the center of the field. At the signal of the referee, a player kicks the ball and play is underway. Kickoffs are used to start each half and after a team scores a goal. At other times when the game is stopped, a dropped ball is used to restart play.

The coin toss and initial kickoff Law has not changed since 1863. In the Laws of 1863, the sides traded goals after each score.

Law No. 9- The Ball In and Out of Play
The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air, or when play has been stopped by the referee The ball is in play at all other times, including when it rebounds off of a goalpost or an official.

Law No. 10- The Method of Scoring
A goal is scored when the entire ball passes over the goal line between the goal posts and under the cross bar.

The 1863 Law states “a goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal posts or over the space between the goal posts at whatever height, not being thrown, knocked on or carried.

The team scoring the most goals wins the match. If the teams have the same number of goals, the match is called a draw. If a winner must be determined, for example in tournament play, the following procedures may be used:

  • Away goals rule
  • Extra time
  • Penalty kicks

Law No. 11- Offside
Law 11 is the most controversial and difficult to understand. A player may not camp out near the opposing teams goal waiting for a pass from a teammate. A player is offside if he is closer to the opponents goal that the second to last defender. (The goalkeeper is usually the last defender.) The offside player is only penalized when the ball is actually played forward and the offside players gains an advantage or interferes with the play.

The 1863 rules identified any player on the attacking side who was ahead of the ball before it was kicked as “out of play.”

Law No. 12- Fouls and Misconduct

Referees can award direct or indirect free kicks to the opposing team when a player commits a foul. Law 12 outlines 10 offenses for which a player may be penalized. These include intentionally kicking, tripping, charging, striking or spitting on an opponent. A player is also penalized for touching the ball with his hands.

Referees may discipline a player by displaying a yellow or red card. The yellow card represents a cautionable offense. The red card indicates a sending-off offense and the player is expelled from the match. Receiving two yellow cards in one match also results in being sent out of the game.

Tripping, hacking and pushing an adversary were forbidden under the 1863 Laws. In addition, three of the original laws dealt with using hands on the ball. Holding the ball and running with it were two of the main issues that lead to standardized rules so it is not surprising that three these three laws were included:

  • No player shall run with the ball
  • A player shall not be allowed to throw the ball or pass it to another with his hands
  • No player shall be allowed to take the ball from the ground with his hands under any pretext whatever while it is in play.

Law No. 13- Free Kicks
Free kicks can be either direct or indirect. For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player. A goal may be scored by a direct kick. On an indirect kick, another player must touch the ball before a goal can be scored. The referee signals in indirect kick by raising his arm above his head.

In 1863, players could make a fair catch of a ball in the air. The player had to mark the spot of the fair catch with his heel, place the ball on the mark and take a free kick.

Law No. 14- Penalty Kicks
Penalty kicks are awarded when offenses occur with the penalty area in front of the goal. The ball is placed on the penalty mark. The player taking the kick and the goalkeeper are the only ones allowed inside the penalty area. The goalkeeper must remain on the goal line between the posts until the ball is kicked.

Law No. 15- The Throw In
The throw in is used to restart play after the ball has gone out of play along the touch lines (sidelines). The player making the throw in must have both feet on the ground on or behind the touch line. The ball must be thrown over the head with two hands. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw in. Another player must touch the ball before the player who made the throw in may touch it again.

In 1863, the ball was not considered in play after a throw in until it touched the ground.

Law No. 16- The Goal Kick
The goal kick is used to restart play after the ball has gone out of play along the goal lines and was last touched by the attacking team. The goalkeeper or another player may take the goal kick. The kick must go beyond the penalty box. All players except the keeper and the player taking the goal kick remain outside the penalty area until the ball crosses the line marking the penalty area.

In the original rules, the defending team would put the ball in play with a free kick from the point along the goal line where the ball left the field of play.

Law No. 17- The Corner Kick
A corner kick is used to restart play after the entire ball has bone out of play along the goal line and was last touched by the defending team. The ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest flag post. A member of the attacking team kicks the ball into play. All other players must remain 10 years from the ball until the corner kick is taken. The corner kick is a direct kick.

Under the 1863 Laws, the attacking side was entitled to a free kick if a defender sent the ball out of the player over the goal line. The free kick at the goal was taken 15 yards from the goal.

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TENNIS Racket History

History of the Tennis Racket

Tennis developed from a French game called jeu de paume – game of the palm. Early players hit the ball over a net with their bare palms. Players began to wear leather gloves. Some players eventually added webbing between the fingers. This was the precursor to today’s tennis racquet.

Webbed gloves were eventually replaced by wooden paddles and then by small wooden frames strung with animal gut. Those earliest racquets had very small heads with a teardrop shape.

The size of the racquet head got larger, giving players more power and accuracy. By the time lawn tennis was patented in 1874, the heavy, wooden racquet closely resembled those that would be used into the 1970s. A major change occurred when Jimmy Conners began using a racquet with a metal frame during that decade. The metal frame was lighter and by the late 1970s, the size of the racquet head had increased dramatically.

The metal frames of the 1970s gave way to composite frames in the late 1980s. Those rackets gave players the ultimate combination of power and light weight.

In 1977 the International Tennis Federation revised its racquet standards and determined that the maximum size for a tennis racquet would be 291/2 inches long, with the head frame being no larger than 15 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.

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Oceania Football Conference (OFC)


Oceania Football Conference (OFC)


OFC has been representing the soccer region of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific island nations since it was founded in 1966. Discussions leading to the creation of OFC started during the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and resulted from the Asian Football Confederation’s refusal to accept either Australia or New Zealand for membership.

It took 24 years for FIFA to upgrade Oceania’s status to that of a ‘geographical entity’, in preparation for a six-year trial period to determine whether the body merited confirmation as a full confederation. Finally, in 1996, FIFA put forward a motion to accept OFC as a full confederation at the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

To date, OFC’s membership includes American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, and Vanuatu. OFC is based in Auckland, New Zealand and is headed by New Zealander president Charles Dembsey and New Zealander general secretary Josephine King.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC)


Asian Football Confederation (AFC)


AFC, Asia’s foremost soccer governing body, was formed on May 8, 1954 in Manila, Philippines; and was officially recognized by FIFA on June 21,1954. Two years after it was founded, AFC held its first major competition, the Asian Cup, in Hongkong.

AFC’s founding member- nations include Afghanistan, Burma, Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam. AFC’s current membership stands at 41 nations.

Under the leadership of president Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah of Malaysia and general secretary Peter Velappan (also of Malaysia), AFC is laying the ground for a continent-wide programme to raise the standards of Asian football at all levels, be it on the field of play, administration or sports science. AFC firmly believes that Asia, with its 3.7 billion population, has the potential to produce many world-class footballing nations. Its ultimate goal is for an Asian team to win the FIFA World Cup someday.

Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)


Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)
Homepage: /
Rules and regulations URL: /


CAF, Africa’s main football governing body, was officially created on August 2, 1957 by representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Africa. Based in Cairo, Egypt, CAF is headed by President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and general secretary Mustapha Fahmy of Egypt. Its current membership stands at 51 nations.

Prior to the creation of CAF, Africa was represented within FIFA by four national associations, which included Egypt affiliated in 1923, Sudan in 1948, South Africa in 1952 and Ethiopia in 1953. These four associations were then recognized as a regional group. However, during the 30th FIFA Congress in June 1956, African delegates – including Messrs. Abdelaziz Abdallah Salem, Mohamed Youssef and Mohamed Latif (Egypt), Abdel Halim Mohamed, Abdel Rahim Sheddad and Mohamed Ali Badawi (Sudan), and Fred W. Fell (South Africa) – decided to consolidate the efforts of these four national associations and agreed to create an African Football Confederation.

Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol


Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL)


With the aim of uniting football in South America, Uruguayan Héctor Rivadavia Gómez founded CONMEBOL in July 9, 1916. Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile were among the founder nations, followed by Paraguay (1921), Peru (1925), Bolivia (1926), Ecuador (1927), Colombia (1936) and Venezuela (1952).

CONMEBOL is currently being headed by Executive Committee chief Dr. Nicolás Leoz, who holds office at the confederation’s headquarters in Asunción, Paraguay.

Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Football (CONCACAF)


Confederation of North, Central American
and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF)
Homepage: /
Rules and regulations URL: /Portals/0/Regulations%20and%20Official%20Documents/Competitions%20Regulation/CC%20Eng%20.pdf


Founded in 1961, CONCACAF is one of six continental confederations of FIFA and serves as governing body of football in the North and Central America and the Caribbean basin. It is composed of 38 national associations, from Canada in the north to Suriname in the south.

Along with organizing competitions for national teams and clubs within the region, CONCACAF also offers training courses in technical and administrative aspects of football. It also conducts qualifying tournaments for the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and FIFA world championships at in youth and beach football as well as futsal.

CONCACAF takes pride in being one of only three confederations to host three or more World Cups, together with Europe and South America, in 1994. In line with the increasing attention CONCACAF has been experiencing, it has streamlined its administration, improved its marketing efforts, and established a new communications department to enable it to deliver better services to its members.

Royal Netherlands Football Association


Royal Netherlands Football Association


The Royal Netherlands Football Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB), the country’s governing body for football, manages the overall development of the sport and its players. KNVB oversees the Dutch football league and the national team. Moreover, KNVB
calls up players for internationals; completely cares and prepares the Dutch national side, as well as maintains and raises the general level of playing standards in the Netherlands. KNVB carries out these activities from its headquarters in Woudenbergseweg, in the municipality of Zeist.

Activities to develop interests and talents in football in Netherlands started as early as 1905. By 1907, calls for the first national coach were made, following a staggering loss from England (12-2). While the position of Dutch national coach became a significant part of the national team after the First World War, it was not until 1928 when the team got for itself a permanent, properly salaried coach. But even with an appointed coach, KNVB’s committees still prevailed even until 1957. Not after a discussion between then coach Elek Schwartz and committee members in the autumn of 1957 when coaches were given full freedom to maneuver the national team.

Korea Football Association


Korea Football Association
History: /


The Korean Football Association, Korea’s governing body for the sport, was founded on September 4,1948 – following the dissolution of the Joseon Football Association (JFA), its first governing body. The Korean Football Association came about towards the end of the Japanese colonial rule in 1945, ensuing political divisions in the Korean peninsula that also led to the disintegration of the Japanese-inspired JFA. To date, the Korean Football Association is engaged in various activities to promote and spread organized football in Korea. The Korean Football Association is also a full-pledged FIFA member, having ascended to membership on the same year it was founded.

Gibraltar Football Association (GFA)


Gibraltar Football Association (GFA)


One of the ten oldest football federations in the world, the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) was founded in 1895. Initially named as Gibraltar Civilian Football Association, GFA was founded then to coordinate efforts of an increasing number of football associations. In 1901, GFA formed a representative team which competed against military teams. In 1909, GFA became successful in affiliating with the Football Association. GFA, however, was not equally successful in its bid to become a full member of the UEFA, due to an opposition from the Spanish Football Federation. GFA is now looking forward to a positive turnout in its pending application for membership of UEFA.

GFA considers the period of 1949-1955 as its golden era, when teams such as Real Madrid FC, Atletico Madrid FC, Real Valladolid FC, Beogradski FC, Wacker FC, and Admira FC came to Gibraltar to play with their local team.