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Standard pitch measurements. Not all pitches are the same size, though 105m (115yd) by 68m (74yd) is the preferred size for many professional teams' stadiums (for example: Camp Nou, San Siro, Old Trafford, Allianz Arena, Elland Road) with other pitches' size a slight variation (Stamford Bridge, Santiago Bernabeu, La Bombonera)

An association football pitch (also known as a football pitch, football field[1] or soccer field) is the playing surface for the game of association football made of turf. Its dimensions and markings are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game, "The Field of Play".

Since 2008, In order to standardize the size of the football pitch for A international matches, the IFAB has decided to set a fixed size of 105m long and 68m wide (instead of a minimum and maximum length - from 100m to 110m - and a minimum and a maximum width - from 64m to 75m - as mentioned in the present text).[2]

All line markings on the pitch form part of the area which they define. For example, a ball on or above the touchline is still on the field of play; a ball on the line of the goal area is in the goal area; and a foul committed over the 16.5 metres (18-yard) line has occurred in the penalty area. Therefore a ball must completely cross the touchline to be out of play, and a ball must wholly cross the goal line (between the goal posts) before a goal is scored; if any part of the ball is still on or above the line, the ball is still in play.

The field descriptions that apply to adult matches are described below. Note that due to the original formulation of the Laws in England and the early supremacy of the four British football associations within IFAB, the standard dimensions of a football pitch were originally expressed in imperial units. The Laws now express dimensions with approximate metric equivalents (followed by traditional units in brackets), but use of the imperial units remains common in some countries, especially in the United Kingdom.

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Goals

Goals are placed at the centre of each goal-line. These consist of two upright posts placed equidistant from the corner flagposts, joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar. The inner edges of the posts must be 7.32 metres (8 yds) apart, and the lower edge of the crossbar must be 2.64 metres (8 feet) above the ground. Nets are usually placed behind the goal, though are not required by the Laws.

Goalposts and crossbars must be white, and made of either wood, metal or other approved material. Rules regarding the shape of goalposts and crossbars are somewhat more lenient, but they must conform to a shape that does not pose a threat to players.

A goal is scored when the ball completely crosses the goal line between the goal-posts, even if a defending player last touched the ball before it crossed the goal line (see own goal). A goal may, however, be ruled illegal (and void by the referee) if the player who scored or a member of his team commits an offence under any of the laws between the time the ball was previously out of play and the goal being scored.

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History of football goals and nets

Football goals are first described in England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1584 and 1602 respectively, John Norden and Richard Carew referred to "goals" in Cornish hurling. Carew described how goals were made: "they pitch two bushes in the ground, some eight or ten foote asunder; and directly against them, ten or twelue [twelve] score off, other twayne in like distance, which they terme their Goales".[3] The first reference to scoring a goal is in John Day's play The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green (performed circa 1600; published 1659): (an extremely violent variety of football, which was popular in East Anglia). Similarly in a poem in 1613, Michael Drayton refers to "when the Ball to throw, And drive it to the Gole, in squadrons forth they goe". Solid crossbars were first introduced by the Sheffield Rules. Football nets were invented by Liverpool engineer John Brodie in 1891.[4]

Penalty and goal areas

Two rectangular boxes are marked out on the pitch in front of each goal.

The goal area (colloquially the "six-yard box"), consists of the area formed by the goal-line, two lines starting on the goal-line 5.5 metres (6 yds) from the goalposts and extending 5.5 metres (6 yds) into the pitch from the goal-line, and a line joining these. Goal kicks and any free kick by the defending team may be taken from anywhere in this area. Indirect free kicks awarded to the attacking team within the goal area must be taken from the point on the line parallel to the goal line nearest where an incident occurred; they can not be taken further within the goal-area. Similarly drop-balls that would otherwise occur in the goal area are taken on this line.

The penalty area (colloquially "The 18 yard box" or just "The box") is similarly formed by the goal-line and lines extending from it, however its lines commence 16.5 metres (18 yards) from the goalposts and extend 16.5 metres (18 yds) into the field. This area has a number of functions, the most prominent being to denote where the goalkeeper may handle the ball and where a foul by a defender, usually punished by a direct free kick, becomes punishable by a penalty kick.

The penalty mark (or "penalty spot") is immediately in the middle of, and 11 metres (12 yds) in front of, the goal; this is the point from where penalty kicks are taken. The penalty arc (colloquially "the D") is marked from the outside edge of the penalty area, 9.15 metres (10 yds) from the penalty mark; this, along with the penalty area, marks an exclusion zone for all players other than the attacking kicker and defending goalkeeper during a penalty kick.

Other terms

Although the term goal line is often taken to mean only that part of the line between the goalposts, in fact it refers to the complete line at either end of the pitch, from one corner flag to the other. In contrast, the term byline (or by-line) is often used to refer to that portion of the goal line outside the goalposts. This term is commonly used in football commentaries and match descriptions, such as this example from a BBC match report; "Udeze gets to the left byline and his looping cross is cleared..."[5].

The centre circle is marked at 9.15 metres (10 yards) from the centre spot. Similar to the penalty arc, this indicates the minimum distance that opposing players must keep at kick-off.

Associated areas

Aside from the field of play, the Laws and by-laws can be used to regulate related areas off the field. The most prominent of these is the technical area, which defines the bench areas and nearby areas to which coaching and managing staff are generally restricted. At top level football grounds, the technical area is usually marked out with a dashed line. Note that the referee's authority extends not only to the field of play, but also its immediate surroundings, including the technical area.

References


Simple English

A football pitch is the playing surface for the game of association football made of grass. Its dimensions and markings are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game, "The Field of Play".


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