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Football A Game Of Wit And Skills

Apr 25, 2008
There are a number of association football regulations that make this most popular game a battle of endurance as well as sportsmanship. The referee of an association football game (known as soccer in some parts of the world) has a greater power over the game and the players than in many other large team sports. While there is one head referee, he is in ordinary circumstances assisted by two junior referees. There are some tournament situations where a fourth referee is needed to help keep an eye on the players.

It was not until 1965 that player substitutions were even allowed in champion league football. The players you started with were the only ones you had and injuries could put your team in dire straits if you became outnumbered. At first only an injured player could be substituted for and at that only one substitution was allowed per team each game. Subsequent years saw a relaxing of this rule and ultimately permitted substitutions to be used as a strategy.

However, once a player was removed there was no coming back into the game. The referee has control of this. It is at his sole discretion and determination when a player can be substituted and then only if the referee calls for a game "stoppage". The only variation to this is that a referee can not order a substitution. If a player insists on continuing then he is allowed to do so.

Association football is divided into two half periods of forty-five minutes each and is run continuously. However, the referee keeps up with the time and can allow for a "stoppage" if he wishes and can then add the time onto the end of the half. It is not the time-clock but the referee's determination alone that calls the end of the game.

While the referee must follow the listed game rules as they pertain to misconduct and improper game behavior, these rules are rather broadly defined so that the referee has a somewhat wide range of control. The referee can either warn a player of improper action and allow a "penalty" kick from the opposing team or he can expel a player for major infractions to the rules. A player that has been removed from the game by the referee can not be replaced by a substitute and the team is left a player short for the duration of the contest.

The referee has the right to continue play during such removal. This feature of football is called "playing the advantage" and if the team given this brief advantage does not capitalize on it quickly enough, the referee is allowed to call a play back and let them have that advantage edge again. Such permissible activity is one of the reasons that emotions can flare so high during a football game and those watching it from the stands have been known to react violently.

Even though association football now allows a few extra team members as substitutes, they are at all times still under the jurisdiction of the referee. Players who have been injured or expelled from the game are also still under the referee's orders. Coaches and non-playing members of the team staff can be ordered to leave the stadium by the referee if they violate any of the rules of the game or act in an unsportsmanlike manner. With the strong powers granted a referee in this game it is imperative that he be equally of a strong ethical character.
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