Soccer Field1. The Field of Play - The field of play is the surface on which the game of soccer is played on. This law regulates everything regarding line markings, soccer pitch dimensions and how to use them properly. For example, a soccer pitch must be between 90 and 120 meters long and 45 to 90 meters wide. However, it must also have a rectangular shape, so you can't have a square field with a length and width of 90 at the same time.
Other basic rules of soccer and field measurements are specified in this law, such as the dimensions of each goal (7.32 meters long and 2.44 meters high), the diameter of the centre circle (18.30 meters) or the distance between the penalty spot and the goal (11 meters, perpendicularly on the goal).
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Soccer Ball2. The Ball - Throughout the time, the rules for soccer regarding the football remained the same, but the way in which they were applied was on a constant change. The rules state that the soccer bull must have a circumference between 68 and 70 centimeters and a weight between 410 and 450 grams but they also state that the ball can be made out of "leather or any similar material".
Well that "any similar material" bit constantly improved over time and nowadays soccer balls reached near-perfection. Almost each World Cup brought a new type of soccer ball, with improved characteristics, although all of them stayed inside the official soccer rules stated in the Laws.
Soccer Formation3. The Number of Players - According to the official soccer rules, a team can bring in 10 outfield players and one goalkeeper on the pitch and can have several substitutes on the bench. The numbers of benched subs as well as the actual number of substitutions that are allowed in a single match vary with the type of the game played. For example, in official matches only 3 substitutions are allowed, with 5, 7 or 9 players on the bench.
In friendlies however, a coach can fit in as many players as he wants on the bench and usually he can also make as many substitutions as he needs. In the past, the official soccer rules regarding substitutions were a lot stricter than this.
Soccer Shoes4. The Player's Equipment - Just like with the soccer ball, soccer equipment maintained most of the original rules in the Laws of the Game, but the way people interpret them today is quite different from how they did back in 1863. Basically the rules of soccer say that a player must wear a shirt or jersey, footwear, shin pads, shorts and socks and the two teams must have different equipment so that they can be differentiated on the pitch.
Back then however, a soccer jersey was a largely uncomfortable one and it was very simple, without too many details strapped on it. Today's jerseys are very light and comfortable and on many occasions they have the club's sponsors imprinted on them, they have the number of the player (and the name in some cases) on the back and the club's badge on the chest. These are not enforced by the soccer rules, but they have become common standards in today's game.
Soccer Referee5. The Referee - Well the man in black (or more recently phosphorus green) is probably the biggest "invention" that came with the initial soccer rules constitution and his role is to enforce these official rules of soccer "in connection to the match he has been appointed to".
The center referee is accompanied and helped by two assistant referees (one on each side of the pitch) and a fourth one that handles small issues like showing injury time duration, checking a substitute player's equipment and replacing one of the three main referees if they can't continue the game.
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Assistant Referees6. The Assistant Referees - As I explained above, the assistant referees are placed on the sides of the pitch (one each) and their main role is to help the main referee with some decisions. Actually, the assistant referee has no decision power, he can only signal a game issue (an offside, a foul, handball and so forth) but it's up to the central ref if he's or she is going to take up the assistant's advice.
Injury Time7. The Duration of the Match - Standard adult games are limited by the official soccer rules to two halves of 45 minutes each, separated by a 15 minutes break. This is not the actual time of play, since this 90 minute clock ticks even when the ball is out of play, during substitutions and so forth. In order to try to balance this timing a bit, the end of each half also brings a few minutes of "injury time" on the table.
In some cases, when the match must have a winner (a knockout match for example), two extra mini-periods of 15 minutes each, with no break between them are added. If the match is tied at the end of extra time as well, the players go on for a penalty-shootout that will eventually decide the winner.
Stopper Clock8. The Start and Restart of
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