Despite being a sport with roots reaching out to medieval and even ancient times, soccer was never really played under a set of strict rules until 1863.
On 26 October, 1863 several amateur and semi-professional clubs from England gathered up in London and formed up the Football Association and devised a “constitution” for the game, including a set of standardized soccer.Obviously the “Laws of football” as they were called back then were just a set of basic soccer rules and they didn’t cover all aspects of the game.
The main points covered by the Football Association were regarding violence on the pitch, as oftentimes the tense clashes in no-rules matches lead to bloody fistfights between the teams. Since then, soccer rules constantly evolved and began covering more and more of the game’s principles and also adapting soccer to the age it was played in. r/soccerstreams
A simple example of this would be the offside rules which was introduced later on in the game, when matches became more and more tactical.
Without the offside rule, attackers would often have a hibernating role in the team, simply staying up front and waiting for the ball to come, hence with the new rule, they were forced to work as much as the other players on the pitch.
Let’s take a look at some of the official soccer rules of today and give them a small explanation for why they are there and how they affect the game:
Soccer field dimensions – since not all soccer pitches could share the exact same size, FIFA decided a small length and width size threshold in order for a pitch to be playable. So the minimum length of a soccer field must be of 100 yards (90 meters), whereas the maximum length must be 130 yards (120 meters).
A bigger size difference was allowed for the width, which can be as small as 50 yards (45 meters) and as big as 100 yards (90 meters). You might have noticed that the minimum length coincides with the maximum width! Although strange indeed, soccer could actually be played on a square field, however for entertainment’s sake no one built that kind of pitch yet (thankfully).
Number of players – The official soccer rules book states that each team can enter the field with 11 players (one of which is the goalkeeper).
The number of substitutes depends on the competition the match is played in, but in official FIFA matches the number of substitutes can range from none to 7, with 3 substitutions eligible for each of the two teams.
However, in friendly matches, it’s often the case that both teams agree upon a set number of substitutions or simply go all-out and allow every bench player to get in the game at some point, replacing one of the first team members.
Ball in/out play soccer rules – The ball is in play whenever the referee doesn’t intervene whistling a game stop and whenever it stays inside the play area.