Football (soccer) is one of the most popular games in the world. Football ignites passion and excitement amongst millions of fans across the globe who follow the sport and its skilled players.

Football is played between two teams of 11 players each. The aim of the game is to put the ball into the opponent's goal by kicking or heading it in. Only goalkeepers can use their hands to handle or block the ball.

A regular game lasts for 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each with an interval of 15 minutes at the half time. The team that scores the most goals wins the match.


The origins of football are vague. The Greeks played a game which loosely resembles its modern counterpart, as did the Romans. There are also indications that a game similar to football was played in China during the reign of Huang-Ti, the "Yellow Emperor".

The first non-university football club was founded in Sheffield in 1857 and by 1863, football leaders came together to form the Football Association in London.

Partick, Scotland was the venue for the first international football match in 1872, where Scotland drew 0-0 with England. By the first Olympic Games in 1896, football had made an impression in enough countries to be included as a demonstration sport.

Today's football governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris in 1904. Four years later, football became an official Olympic sport at the London games in 1908. Football's next big milestone was the inaugural World Cup, which first took place in Uruguay in 1930. Football made another leap when women's football was included in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Football has been on every Asian Games programme since the first Games in New Delhi, India, in 1951.


The 15th Asian Games will use Olympic competition rules for the men's game, which means only players under the age of 23 are allowed to compete. However, a maximum of three players who are older than that may also be included in the official squad.

The only age restriction for women's teams is that players must be 16 years or older.

In the group rounds, three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. Extra time consisting of two periods of 15 minutes will be used to find a winner if matches finish in draws in the final and quarter-finals. If it is still a draw after 120 minutes of play, penalty kicks will decide the winner.


 Football in Pakistan

The history of football in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. With the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, the Pakistan Football Federation came into existence on the 5th December, 1947. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, father of the nation, was graciously pleased to become its Patron-in-Chief and the Pakistan Football Federation was recognised by the International Football Association (i.e. FIFA) in early 1948.

The Pakistan Football Federation had a chequered career to start with and in 1950, - the general meeting of the Council the Federation was recognised and put on proper footing with Alhaj Khawaja Shahabuddm. as its President. Wing Commander Soofi was unanimously elected as the Honorary Secretary.

The game was organised with the National Championship being held annually. Pakistan for the first time in 1950 sent a national team to Iran and Iraq to gain experience at the international level. In 1954 Pakistan participated in Asian Games at Manila and also toured the Far East. In 1958, Pakistan again took part in the Tokyo Asian Games. Pakistan also had been taking part in the annual Asian Quadrangular Tournament.

In Pakistan, the game has not been able to develop as smoothly as it should have developed. Pakistan's participation in international competitions has not been regular. Football has soared to new heights in the world, especially in the European and Latin American Countries. Many changes have been made in its technique. Today, a football match between two balanced sides is considered to be the most exciting spectacle on a sports field. Professionalism has given football new dimensions. But in Pakistan, the standard of football has gone downwards rather than moving up-wards.

The standard which had been achieved in the 50s, could not be maintained. Football Could not be organised on modern lines. To make the game professional in Pakistan seems a far cry. Groupism among the organisers has seriously hindered its smooth progress in Pakistan. To put the game on right path earnest efforts are the need of the hour.