Football - Common Elements

Common Elements

The various codes of football share the following common elements:

  • Two teams of usually between 11 and 18 players; some variations that have fewer players (five or more per team) are also popular.
  • A clearly defined area in which to play the game.
  • Scoring goals or points, by moving the ball to an opposing team's end of the field and either into a goal area, or over a line.
  • Goals or points resulting from players putting the ball between two goalposts.
  • The goal or line being defended by the opposing team.
  • Players being required to move the ball—depending on the code—by kicking, carrying, or hand-passing the ball.
  • Players using only their body to move the ball.

In most codes, there are rules restricting the movement of players offside, and players scoring a goal must put the ball either under or over a crossbar between the goalposts. Other features common to several football codes include: points being mostly scored by players carrying the ball across the goal line; and players receiving a free kick after they take a mark or make a fair catch.

Peoples from around the world have played games which involved kicking or carrying a ball, since ancient times. However, most of the modern codes of football have their origins in England.

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