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Football refers to a number of different team sports, all of which involve scoring points with a round or ellipsoid ball into or onto a goal area defended by the opposing team.

Table of contents
1 Summary
2 History
3 List of Football Games
4 The use of the term "football" in English-speaking countries


The object of all football games is to advance the ball by kicking, running with, or passing and catching, either to the opponent's end of the field where points or goals can be scored by, depending on the game, putting the ball across the goal line between posts and under a crossbar, putting the ball between upright posts (and possibly over a crossbar), or advancing the ball across the opponent's goal line while maintaining possession of the ball.

In all football games, the team that wins is the one that has the most points or goals when a specified length of time has elapsed.


Main article: History of football

It is considered by many that the act of kicking about a ball or other object is a natural human preoccupation; consequently, the roots of team sports which could later be classed as "football" extend to early periods of recorded history and likely before. However, the first football games to be recognized as such began in western Europe circa the 12th Century. These games, which were essentially unorganized clashes of sporting mobs, with an inflated bladder or leather pouch serving as the ball, originated mainly in England and spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages.

Due to the violence of games, and their perceived tendency to dissuade players from their civil duties in the society, a number of monarchs and clerics attempted to ban the game, beginning as early as 1314. These bans met with mixed success.

It was not until 1863 that The Football Association was formed in England with the intent of finally codifying the sport and repairing its reputation. Their attempts led to the formation of Association football, more or less as it is known today, but breakaway groups (initially from Warwickshire) and other experimenters broke with the FA during and after this process to form rugby football and related football games.

List of Football Games

Games descended from FA rules

(As originally developed at
Eton, Harrow and Winchester)

Games descended from Warwickshire football rules

Traditional medieval-style games

Modern Inventions and Derivations

Tabletop games and other recreations

The use of the term "football" in English-speaking countries

Depending on which part of the world you live in, the word football when referring to a specific game can mean any one of the above. Because of this, much friendly controversy has erupted over the term football, primarily because it is used in different ways in different parts of the world.

In the United States, "football" refers to American football. Association football, which is much less popular, is called "soccer", and rugby football, which is less popular still, is usually called "rugby" or occasionally "rugger".

In Canada, "football" refers to Canadian football, though some Canadians recognize American football as simply "football" as well. Association football, which is much less popular, is called "soccer".

In Australia, "football" (or "footie") refers to Australian rules football. American football is called "gridiron" or "gridiron football" due to the markings on the pitch. Association football is called "soccer", or the derogatory "wog-ball", as the game is often played by foreigners.

In the Republic of Ireland, "football" generally refers to Association football, although Gaelic football is virtually unknown anywhere else.

In the United Kingdom, and in most other English-speaking countries, "football" refers to Association football. Britons are less likely to use the terms "rugger" than Americans, and "gridiron" than Australians to describe those games. One British punk band has released a song entitled, "It's Football, Not <expletive deleted> Soccer".