Football 07-21-2004 09:02

鈥淭he King of Sports鈥

Football, known as the 鈥淜ing of Sports鈥, is the most popular sport in the world. It is a sport that draws together the young and old throughout the five continents of the world: from Rio de Janeiro, to the foot of mount Caucasus, USA, to Nairobi streets. It comes as no surprise then that all big Football tournaments and championships are watched by millions of spectators around the world.


A Football game is played by two teams of eleven players each including the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper is the only one who can touch the ball by hand without being penalized. The teams鈥 aim is to score a goal. A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line between the opposite team鈥檚 goalposts. The winner is the team to score the most goals. A game鈥檚 duration is 90 minutes. A referee presides over a game and is in charge of implementing the Football rules. Two assistant referees moving along the two touch lines of the field of play facilitate the referee鈥檚 task.

ATHENS 2004 Football

During the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, the men鈥檚 and women鈥檚 Football competitions will be hosted in five Olympic cities: Athens, Volos, Heraklio, Thessaloniki, Patras. Competition events will take place from 11 August, two days before the Opening Ceremony, to 29 August 2004. Finals will take place in Athens. In total, 16 men鈥檚 teams will compete in four rounds (preliminaries, quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals) and 10 women鈥檚 teams in three (quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals).


Team games involving kicking the ball with one鈥檚 feet have been played in various parts of the world for thousands of years. A sample of such games includes 鈥淭su Chu鈥, a Chinese game which was played in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., 鈥淜emari鈥 in Japan, which appeared 500-600 years later and is still played today, the ancient Greek game 鈥淓piskyros鈥 and the Roman 鈥溛梐rpastum鈥. These games had a pronounced ceremonial and symbolic character. In most cases the ball was the symbol of the sun whose 鈥渃apture鈥 would guarantee land fertility and good crops.

Football, however, was mostly developed in England. From the 8th to the 19th century it had a local character and the rules varied from place to place. At the end of the 19th century, sailors of the English navy introduced Football to the four corners of the earth. The year 1863 marks the beginning in the modern history of Football: the British Football Federation was established. Eight years later, the federation counted 50 club-members.

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIF螒) was founded in Paris in May 1904. The seven founding members were France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain,the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. As Football鈥檚 worldwide popularity increased, the number of FIFA country-members followed. Today, FIFA counts 204 members.

Men鈥檚 Football was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens. It became an official Olympic sport in the 1908 Games in London. Nearly a century passed before women鈥檚 Football was included in the Olympic competition programme in the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Until the 1984 Olympic Games, participation was restricted to amateur players and Olympic Football was dominated by eastern European countries. After the inclusion of professional athletes at the Olympic Games, participation rules have been a subject of debate between the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. As a result, new regulations were established specifying the age of participant athletes. The new regulations have enabled many African countries to display a rich pool of Football talents.

In Greece, Football is by far the most popular sport. It accounts for the largest number of clubs and players. Almost every Greek city has a Football stadium. The governing body of the sport in Greece is the Hellenic Football Federation, which was founded in 1926 and is a member of FIFA. It supervises 51 local Football Club Associations including about 6,000 amateur clubs. Professional Football is being supervised by the Association of Professional Football Clubs accounting for about 60 clubs.

Despite its popularity, Greek Football has not gained matching distinctions at a club or national level. The Men鈥檚 National Team participated at the final stages of the 1980 European Championship and the 1994 World Cup. The U-21 National Team competed in two European Championships finals (1988 and 1998).

As for Greek clubs, Panathinaikos reached the 1971 European Champions Cup final and AEK the 1977 UEFA Cup semi-finals. More recently, Panathinaikos reached the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup and Champions League in 1985 and 1996 respectively.

The Greek National Team has participated in the 1920 Games in Antwerp and the 1952 Games in Helsinki. Its participation at the 2004 Olympic Games will be important. Timely preparation may lead to a successful performance and strengthen the foundation of Greek Football.

See football venues here...

Source:The official website of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Editor:Wang  Source:

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