Without rules all you end up with on a playing pitch is a lot of confusion and too many fights. A game without rules leaves its participants wondering what they are supposed to do or how to do it. Association football has seventeen specific rule points to organize the play action. While these seventeen rules cover all aspects of play, they are written in broad enough terms to make them easily understood and yet allow the referee leeway in determining when a player has made an infraction.The Seventeen Laws of the Game as devised by the Football Association were originally codified in 1863.
While other organizations had created their own rules and practices, these were the ones that were eventually accepted by almost everyone and the basis of the rules today. They are also the rules that hold sway in the International Football Association Board rulings. Compared to the rulebooks of other games, the fifty-page pamphlet governing association football seems small. But with the discretionary powers allowed the referee, it contains all a player needs for a full understanding of his actions.
The first few Laws of association football are concerned with the size and setup of the playing pitch, “The Field of Play”, and the equipment required for the game. There are included here specific considerations for the markings on the field and even the color of the goal posts. The shape, size and weight of the spherical ball are also regulated. It codifies both professional sized balls and the various sizes used in other football venues. The Laws set out the criteria for replacing a ball during play if it has become defective due to damage or adverse weather conditions.
The maximum and minimum number of players that can make up a team are put forth as well as regulations on how and when substitutions can be made. It should be noted that substitutions are a modern refinement of the game as before the 1970’s no such procedure was allowed. The rules are firmly enforced about the uniform equipment. Shirt, shorts, socks, shoes and shin guards comprise the entirety of what can be worn. No objects, including jewelry or time pieces, that could endanger a player are allowed on the pitch.