Football is played between two teams, on a field 90-120 m long and 45-90 m wide, with an inflated spherical ball of circumference 69 cm. The objective of the game is to kick or head the ball into the opponent's goal, an area 7.31 m wide and 2.44 m high. Each time a team's player succeeds in thus pushing the ball through the goal posts, a goal is scored and the team that scores more in the game's stipulated time of 90 minutes in two periods with a break in the middle for rest and change of sides by the playing teams. A team is broadly divided into defence (the goalkeeper and defenders), midfield (for collection of the ball from the defenders and distribution to the attackers) and the attack (forwards or strikers). The field has a halfway line marked with a centre circle, two penalty areas and two goal areas. On the field of play itself, only the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with the hands and then only within the goal area. If the ball is pushed outside the delineated field area it must be refreshed through kicking or throwing. The game is controlled by a referee, who is assisted by two linesmen.
The historians could not come to a consensus about the country of origin of the football match. There are several opinion raised time to time claiming football was introduced first in Chin, Greece, Rome or England. But there is no difference of opinion regarding the role of Romans in popularising football in Europe.
Played in England from the 13th century, football developed in the 19th century and the first set of rules was drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848. In UK, the rules were modified by the Football Association, founded in 1863. Slight amendments to the rules take effect in certain competitions and overseas matches as laid down by the sport's world governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris on 21 May 1904. FIFA organises the competition for the World Cup held every four years since 1930. Other major events include the European Championship, instituted in 1958 and held every four years since 1960, The European Champions' Cup (first held in 1955), the European Cup Winners' Cup (held in 1960) and the UEFA Cup (formerly the Inter-cities Fare's Cup, first held in 1955). Football was incorporated in the Olympic games in 1908 and in Asian Games in 1951. The Asian Club Football Championship started in 1967.
The British introduced football in India in 1821. The first competitive football match was held then in India between the teams of the armed forces and Bombay Islands at Bombay. Meanwhile football gained popularity in Allahabad, Calcutta and Dhaka and the Indian Football Association (IFA) Shield Cup took off in 1893.
The responsibility of overall supervision and development of football in Bangladesh lies with the Bangladesh Football Federation (BAFUFE) established in 1972. BAFUFE organised a football league at Dhaka in 1972. Federation Cup Football championship started in 1980. The playing football was unprofessional game and Dhaka Premier Division Football League was only the domestic event of the country until 2007. From this year football tournament has initiated as professional game called B-League but it was renamed Bangladesh League in 2010. The notable football clubs in Bangladesh are Mohamedan Sporting Club, Abahani Kriya Chakro Limited, Brothers Union and Muktijodda Sangsad Kriya Chakro.
Once upon time an international football match was arranged named President Gold Cup endeavouring of Bangladesh Football Federation. Moreover, a tournament was organised titled Bangabandhu Gold Cup. Since prior to independence a tournament based on club titled Agha Khan Gold Cup was held regularly. However, presently such tournaments are not being arranged. But Bangladesh football team participates regularly in the tournament of SAF Football (which is consisted with the country member of SAARC), FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Bangladesh Football Team earned gold on football in the South Asian Games in 1999 and 2010, and became champion of SAF Football in 2003. [Gofran Faroqi]