Association football, or, in most countries just football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams each consisting of eleven players and is the most popular team sport in the world. It is a ball game played on a rectangular grass field (or occasionally on artificial turf) with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by maneuvering the ball into the opposing team's goal. The predominant feature of the sport is that players other than the goalkeepers may not use their hands or arms to propel the ball in general play. The winner is the team that has scored the most goals at the end of the match.
The sport is known by many names throughout the English-speaking world, although football is perhaps the most common. Other names, such as association football and soccer, are often used to distinguish the game from other codes of football, since the word football may refer to several quite different games.
The game is played at a professional level all over the world and millions of people regularly go to a football stadium to follow their favourite team, whilst millions more avidly watch the game on television. A very large number of people also play football at an amateur level.
The competition formed as the "FA Premier League" in 1992, following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League to take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. Since then it has progressed to become the world's most watched sporting league, and the most lucrative football league, with member club revenues totalling a figure in excess of £1.4 billion.
During the course of a season (which lasts from August to May) each of the 20 clubs play the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents for a total of 38 games for each club per season.
A game of Street football in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The term street football encompasses a wide variety of informal games that are loosely based on association football but do not necessarily enforce all, or indeed any, of the Laws of the Game. Often the most basic of set-ups will involve just a ball with a wall or fence used as a goal, or items such as clothing being used for goalposts. The ease of playing these informal games means that they are popular all over the world.
Thierry Henry (born 17 August 1977), is a French football player who plays in the position of striker and is renowned for his pace and goal scoring record.
Henry was spotted by AS Monaco in 1990 and signed to a youth contract instantly, making his professional début in 1994. Good form led to an international call-up for France in 1998, after which he signed for the Italian defending champions Juventus. He had a disappointing season playing on the wing, before joining Arsenal for £10.5 million in 1999.
Despite initially struggling in the Premiership, under long-time mentor and coach Arsène Wenger he emerged as Arsenal's top goal-scorer for almost every season he played. Henry won two league titles and three FA Cups with The Gunners, was twice nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year and became Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 226 goals in all competitions. In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to FC Barcelona for a fee of £16.1 million.
Henry has also had success with the French national squad, having been part of the squad that won both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. In October 2007, he surpassed Michel Platini's record becoming the country's top goal-scorer of all time.
In addition to organising over fifteen international club and national team tournaments, the CAF annually presents the African Footballer of the Year award. Due to their geographic location, ten CAF nations also participate in the Arab Nations Cup organised by UAFA.