Each Football game is played by two teams of 11 players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. During the game a team is allowed to make three substitutes from a group of seven players. No game can begin if a team has fewer than seven players. In Men’s Olympic Football, each 18-member squad must include at least 15 athletes less than 23 years of age. There is no age limit for the remaining three. There are no age restrictions for the women’s tournament.
A Football game lasts 90 minutes, two halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute half-time break. The teams’ aim is to score a goal without violating the rules of the sport. A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line between the opposite team’s goalposts. The winner is the team to score the most goals.
A referee presides over a game and is in charge of implementing the rules. Two assistant referees moving along the two touch lines facilitate the referee’s task. Before the beginning of the game, the referee tosses a coin. The winning team chooses a goalpost for the first half and the other team gets the ball at the referee’s starting whistle.
Basic laws of the game
Rule violations are penalized by the referee according to their gravity.
Direct free kick: It is called against the team whose player kicks, holds, trips, pushes an opponent or attempts these actions. The same will apply when a player handles the ball deliberately. In these cases, a player of the opposite team may perform a direct kick towards the opponent’s goalpost from the spot where the violation was committed.
It is called when the above violations take place within the goal or penalty area, regardless of the ball’s position. The kick is made from a distance of 11 m from the team’s goalpost.
Indirect free kick: It is called when, according to the referee’s judgment, a player’s conduct is hazardous or when a player obstructs an opponent or the goalkeeper.
It is also called against a goalkeeper who holds the ball in the penalty area more than six seconds, drops and then picks up the ball without any other player coming in contact with it or touches the ball by hand after a pass from a team mate. The player making the kick can’t shoot straight to the opponent team’s goalpost, but has to first pass it on to a teammate.
The referee shows a yellow card to a player for a serious foul or other offences such as persistent fouling, dissent or unsportsmanlike behaviour.
: The referee shows a red card and expels an athlete from the pitch if he/she violates the code of sportsmanship, displays unfitting conduct, hits an opponent, uses a hand to block the ball and obstructs the opposite team or is shown a second yellow card at the same game.