Today, the sport is a multi-billion pound industry which enjoys huge levels of popularity all over the world, but how did football get where it is today? As it happens, a number of major rule changes, amendments to the playing environment and inclusion of new technology have all served to help bring the game forward. Here are five prime examples:
The offside rule
Its introduction was not long after the game was first invented, but it has been changed several times in order to either make it more simple or challenging.
Despite that, the basic principles of trying to ensure that strikers are forbidden from gaining an unfair advantage when going for the ball remain.
The backpass rule
To try and lessen the impact of the offside rule, the concept of ‘backpass’ came around half a century ago. It stated that any goalkeeper collecting a volley or throw-in from a team-mate deliberately aimed at them was a punishable offence, thereby making it a little harder for them to keep hold of the ball for long periods.
Since they were first trialled in the 1980s, some queried whether they would ever be as good as ordinary grass surfaces which remain the norm in the majority of footballing nations. However, as technology improved, so did the standard of artificial grass pitches, which are being used by many clubs in the Russian Premier League.
A spokesperson said: “Technology in artificial grass has come a long way since the late 80’s and artificial grass pitches are now manufactured from polyethylene rather than nylon; this has meant that these new turfs have been approved by FIFA and UEFA.”
Until the 1990s, it was common to see at least some open terracing in top-flight and second tier football grounds, but a number of high-profile incidents involving overcrowding saw a shift in the way that football grounds look. Seating at football grounds has made watching the game far safer for many fans, while they can watch in comfort too.
From the start of the current English Premier League season, this new technology has been in use, but it’s yet to be embraced by either FIFA or UEFA. It was created in order to make decisions regarding whether the whole of the ball has crossed the line into the net or not far easier for officials, who often had difficulty in situations like that previously.