Posted by : Musinguzi Mark | Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Published in

I have chosen today as a day i can write something about my best sport, football. Today, I have chosen to discuss about the rules of football. Let me show you some of the first rules in football: ORIGINAL OFFSIDE RULE. The offside rule formed part of the original rules in 1863 but it was a far remove from the law as we know it today. Any attacking player ahead of the ball was deemed to be offside - meaning early tactical systems featured as many as eight forwards, as the only means of advancing the ball was by dribbling or scrimmaging as in rugby. In the late 1860s, the FA made the momentous decision to adopt the three-player rule, where an attacker would be called offside if positioned in front of the third-last defender. Now the passing game could develop. Despite the unification of the rules and the creation of the FA in 1863, disputes, largely involving Sheffield clubs who had announced their own set of ideas in 1857, persisted into the late 1870s. However, the creation of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) finally put an end to all arguments. Made up of two representatives from each of the four associations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland), the IFAB met for the first time on 2 June 1886 to guard the Laws of the Game. Then, as today, a three-quarters majority was needed for a proposal to be passed. GRADUAL CHANGES. In those early years, the game gradually assumed the features we take for granted today. Goal-kicks were introduced in 1869 and corner-kicks in 1872. In 1878 a referee used a whistle for the first time. Yet there was no such thing as a penalty up until 1891. In the public schools where modern football originated, there was an assumption that a gentleman would never deliberately commit a foul. Amid the increased competitiveness, however, the penalty, or as it was originally called 'the kick of death', was introduced as one of a number of dramatic changes to the Laws of the Game in 1891. Penalties, of course, had to be awarded by someone and following a proposal from the Irish Association, the referee was allowed on to the field of play. True to its gentlemanly beginnings, disputes were originally settled by the two team captains, but, as the stakes grew, so did the number of complaints. By the time the first FA Cup and international fixture took place, two umpires, one per team, were being employed to whom each side could appeal. But it was not the ideal solution as decisions were often only reached following lengthy delays. The referee, at first, stood on the touchline keeping time and was 'referred' to if the umpires could not agree but that all changed in 1891. REFEREES INTRODUCED. From that date a single person with powers to send players off as well as give penalties and free-kicks without listening to appeals became a permanent fixture in the game. The two umpires became linesmen, or 'assistant referees' as they are called today. Also during that meeting in Scotland, the goal net was accepted into the laws, completing the make-up of the goal after the introduction of the crossbar to replace tape 16 years previously. With the introduction of rules, the features of the football pitch as we know it slowly began to appear. The kick-off required a centre spot; keeping players ten yards from the ball at kick-off, brought the centre circle. It is interesting to note that when the penalty came in 1891, it was not taken from a spot but anywhere along a 12-yard line before 1902. The 1902 decision to award penalties for fouls committed in an area 18 yards from the goal line and 44 yards wide, created both the penalty box and penalty spot. Another box 'goal area', commonly called the 'six-yard-box', six yards long and 20 wide, replaced a semi circle in the goalmouth. However it was not for another 35 years that the final piece of the jigsaw, the 'D' shape at the edge of the penalty area, FIFA JOINS IFAB. Football fast became as popular elsewhere as it had been in Britain and in May 1904, FIFA was founded in Paris with seven original members: France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain (represented by Madrid FC), Sweden and Switzerland. There was some initial disquiet in the United Kingdom to the idea of a world body governing the sport it had created rules for, but this uncertainty was soon brushed aside. Former FA board member Daniel Burley Woolfall replaced Frenchman Robert GuĂ©rin as FIFA President in 1906 - the year the FA joined - and in 1913 FIFA became a member of the IFAB. In the restructured decision-making body, FIFA was given the same voting powers as the four British associations put together. There remained eight votes and the same 75 per cent majority needed for a proposal to be passed, but instead of two each, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland now had one, while FIFA was given four. On the field of play, the number of goals increased aided by the 1912 rule preventing goalkeepers from handling the ball outside the penalty area and another in 1920 banning offsides from throw-ins. In 1925, the three-player offside rule became a two-player one, representing another radical change that propelled the game further forward. ROUS REWRITES THE LAWS. By the late 1930s it was felt that the Laws of the Game, now totalling 17, required a makeover. The original Laws had been penned in the language of Victorian England and since then, there had been more than half a century of changes and amendments. Hence the task given to Stanley Rous, a member of the IFAB and the official who first employed the diagonal system of refereeing, to clean the cobwebs and draft the Laws in a rational order. The Englishman, who would become FIFA President in 1961, did such a good job that not until 1997 were the Laws revised for as second time. Despite football's phenomenal popularity, there was a general agreement in the late 1980s that the Laws of the Game should be fine-tuned in the face of defensive tactics. If fan violence was a serious off-the-pitch problem during that period, then on it the increasingly high stakes meant a real risk of defensive tactics gaining the upper hand. Hence a series of amendments, often referred to as for the 'Good of the Game', which were designed to help promote attacking football. They began with the offside law in 1990. The advantage was now given to the attacking team. If the attacker was in line with the penultimate defender, he was now onside. In the same year, the 'professional foul' - denying an opponent a clear goal-scoring opportunity - became a sending-off offence. BACK PASS RULE CHANGED. Despite these changes, tactics during the 1990 FIFA World Cup ™ suggested something more needed to be done. The IFAB responded in 1992 by banning goalkeepers from handling deliberate back-passes. Although the new rule was greeted with scepticism by some at first, in the fullness of time it would become widely appreciated. The game's Law-makers then struck another blow against cynicism in 1998 when the fierce tackle from behind became a red-card offence. With a new century approaching, the commitment to forward-thinking football could not have been clearer. Above i have shown you some of the major rule changes in the early years of football.Now let me show you some of the recently introduced but controversial rules of football : THE SILVER GOAL. The silver goal is a method for deciding the outcome of elimination matches (i.e. during the knockout stages of a competition). The silver goal only comes into effect if the scores are level at the end of the 90 minutes. If a goal is scored during the first 15 minutes of extra time, and that team is still in the lead at half-time, the team wins the match. If the scores are level after 15 minutes, a second period of extra-time is played. The ruling was proposed in 2002 to replace the golden goal method, which was considered to encourage negative, highly defensive play during extra time. It was hoped that the silver goal would avoid the sudden-death situation, reduce pressure on the referee and encourage the offensive, positive play which was seen as too risky with the golden goal rule. The silver goal was not compulsory, with football competitions able to employ the golden goal, the silver goal, or neither ruling if the game went on to extra time. THE GOLDEN GOAL. Today no more than a footnote in the history of football, the golden goal was at one time a key element in deciding some of the most important matches in the game. Introduced by FIFA in 1993 (who curiously decided that the more commonly used ‘sudden death’ held negative connotations), it was associated almost solely with international football and debuted at the European Championships in 1996. The idea was simple. Whereas the original rules dictated that, if two teams were drawn in a knock-out match after the 90 minutes, extra-time would be played for 30 minutes (divided into two 15 minute segments) with a penalty shoot-out to follow if the deadlock had not been broken. Importantly, should one team score during extra-time, the opposition would still have the chance to equalise until the 30 minutes were up. The ‘golden goal rule’, on the other hand, stated that the first team to score during the 30 minutes of extra-time would immediately be declared the winner. The first golden goal was rather a muted affair - ending the match between Australia and Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Youth Championships in 1993. However, the significance of the change was felt in Euro 1996, when Olivier Bierhoff clinched the final for Germany in the 95th minute against the Czech Republic. Ironically, the next European Championships, in 2000, would also be decided by a golden goal, with David Trezeguet taking the trophy for France against Italy, not that its impact was confined to the European Championships, as the first golden goal in the World Cup came in 1998 courtesy of France’s Laurent Blanc, taking France past Paraguay to the quarter-finals. However, the rule change remained hugely unpopular with fans and players alike. Facing a deluge of complaints, UEFA responded by introducing the ‘silver goal’ rule in 2002, which stated that, after a goal was scored in extra-time, the opposition would have until the end of that 15 minute half to equalise or the match would be over. This proved equally unpopular and, in February 2004, the golden and silver goal rules were removed from the Laws of the Game, giving tournament organisers the option to revert back to the old system. This was duly reinstated for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, effectively condemning the rule to football’s dustbin. After reading all of these,its time pick the most interesting law football has ever seen and my pick is the offside rule. Because it has been changed many times and it looks that it will soon be changed.

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