Football is my favourite game for more than one reason. Cricket is a popular game, but it is too much expensive for me. On the contrary, Hadudu, though least costly and a country game in India, is not to my liking. But football, though originally a British game, is now very popular, not only in our country but all over the world. Almost every school, college, and the club have a football team of its own.
The game of football has rules of its own. The game is played between two teams, with eleven players on each side for 90 minutes. The standard playground should be 120 yards (110m) long and 80 yards (75m) wide. It should be marked with four flags posted at four corners of the field. The goalposts are eight yards apart, with a crossbar eight feet high from the ground, on either end of the playground. No player is allowed to touch the ball by hands and it is treated as ‘handball’, while it is in play. But the goal-keepers are allowed to use their hands for holding the ball. Two linesmen are appointed to point out where the ball crosses the line as well as to decide which party is to throw the ball in. A kick from the centre of the field at the appointed time marks the starting of the game. There is a referee to supervise and conduct the game. Penalties are imposed by the referee for the breach of rules of the game. The referee’s decision is final so far as the facts of the game are concerned. The referee also keeps a record of the game and acts as its time-keeper.
The game is played generally for 90 minutes with a break for rest for five or ten minutes after the half time is over. Sometimes no goal is scored by either side in the stipulated time. In such cases, the game is played for some extra time till one party wins. In competitive tournament medals, cups and shields are presented to winners.
The main feature of the game is that there is always action in it. There is no dull moment in the game. In fact, each moment conveys suspense. Each side of eleven players aspires for scoring a goal. The habit of obeying the referee’s whistle and the linesman’s flag generates discipline among the players. And how intense the joy is when the ball is netted!
But the demerits of the game is that it is a body-contact game and injuries frequently occur in course of the game. However, a set of new rules have been framed by FIFA (Federation of International Football Association). Referees have been directed to show red cards and yellow cards to the players in order to avoid heavy fouls or unfair tactics and unsportsmanlike behaviour in the field. However, football is an interesting healthy game. It teaches the players discipline, obedience to the law, tolerance, brotherhood and friendly feelings and promotes the health and strength of the players. Professional players earn a lot of money playing football. Many good players have a fair chance of securing jobs in these hard days.