The most favoured sport in Malaysia is football. The Football Association of Malaysia administers the competitions in the country. The first contemporary set of rules for the code was acknowledged in the year 1921, and the association manages the Malaysian national football team and also the national league.
Malaysia hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1997, also popular as FIFA World Youth Championship at that time. Malaysia also co-hosted the 2007 Asian Cup with three other countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Soccer is one of the oldest sports in the world, and it is one of the most acknowledged. The highest level of the international game is the Football World Cup. Other recognized tournaments are Copa America, the African Cup of Nations, and Euro Championships. There are also popular leagues like England (English Premier League), Germany (Bundesliga), Spain (La Liga), and Italy (Serie A). In some parts of the world, football is also known as soccer.
Just like any other sport, the objective of the game is to make more goals than the opposing team in a 90-minute playing time duration. The game is separated into halves. It has two 45-minute regulations and a 15-minute break at halftime. It is the referee's discretion if the match needs additional time to compensate for the extension (i.e. injury time).
To count a score, you must go to your opponent's goal, and the ball needs to go over the line for it to be a legal goal. A goal can be scored by using any part of your body apart from the hand or arm up to the shoulder.
Each team consists of 11 players on the field at one time. The players on the field are made up of one goalkeeper and ten outfield players. It is also allowed to play a legal game shorthanded with a minimum of seven players. Teams may have as many players on their roster as they want as substitutes or reserve players. The dimensions of the pitch may vary from each ground but are approximately 75 yards wide and 120 yards long. The pitch will have an 18-yard box surrounding the six-yard box and a centre circle, a box that measures six-yard next to the goal mouth/opening. The field must be a mirror image of each half of the pitch in terms of dimensions.
The basic equipment required for a soccer match is a football and a pitch. The players are supposed to wear protective gear as the sport requires a lot of contact during play. Necessary gears like shin guards with matching strips, soccer cleats, and padded gloves for goalkeepers as they are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands are mandatory. Each team is required to have its own captain.
The team would be declared the winner if they scored more goals than the opponent. If the scores are tied after the 90-minute regulation, it will be declared as a draw. But in cup games, the game can go to a time extension or a penalty shootout to decide who the winner will be. All players must use their feet to kick the ball and are not allowed to use their hands except for the goalkeepers. They can use any part of their body inside the 18-yard box.
The official time of a soccer game is 90 minutes. It is composed of two 45-minutes halves and a 15-minute rest at half time. Just like many other sports, there is a timekeeper that handles the game regulation. Soccer matches are longer than any timed sports, and the game clock does not stop running.
The field must be constructed using either artificial or natural grass. The dimensions of the pitch are allowed to vary but must be within 100 to 130 yards long and 50 to 100 yards wide. The pitch is required to be marked with a rectangular shape around the outside showing out of bounds, two 18-yard boxes, a centre circle, and two six-yard boxes. Twelve yards out of both goals is required for a penalty shot, and the centre circle must also be visible.
The ball's requirements are a 58 to 61 centimetres circumference and of a spherical shape. In the sport of association football, the ball used the association football ball. A football ball, football, and soccer-ball, names of the ball being used in the game, varies according to whether the sport is called “soccer,” “association football,” or “football.” The ball's size, material composition, spherical shape, and weight are indicated in Law 2 of the Laws of the Game, sustained by the International Football Association Board.
Both teams can have up to seven substitute players. Substitutions are made legal at any time of the match with each group given a maximum of three-player changes per game in most formats, and the player that has been substituted off cannot play again for the rest of the game. The main reason for the event of substitution is to sustain the safety and health of each player.
In case all three substitutions have been made, and an injured player needs to leave the field, the team will be compelled to play without a replacement for that player.
A game must include one referee and two assistant referees or linesmen. It is the referee's responsibility to act as the timekeeper and to officiate the game. He must make decisions such as free kicks, fouls, penalties, throw-ins, and added on time at the end of each half. The referees may consult the linesmen at any time in the match for a decision. It is the linesman's duty to determine offsides in the game, throw-ins for either team and also help the referee with all the calls and decisions for the game. If the match comes to a draw and additional time is required, then 30 minutes will be added in regulation — two 15-minute halves after the allotted 90 minutes.
If the teams are still at a draw after extra time extension, a penalty shootout must take place. A goal will be counted legal if the ball crosses the goal line.
A player could receive either a yellow card or a red card depending on the graveness of the foul, and the referee will decide it. The yellow card means a warning and a red card means that the player is dismissed off the game. Two yellow cards are equivalent to one red card. Once a player is thrown out, they cannot be replaced.
A corner kick should be done if the ball comes off a defending player. A goal kick if it goes out of playoff of the attacking player on the baseline. If a ball goes out of bounds off an opponent in either of the sidelines, it will be a throw-in.
An offside can be called when an attacking player is in front of the last defender where the pass is played through to them. The offside area is created to discourage players from simply waiting around the opponent's goal for a pass. They must be placed behind the last defender when the ball is in play. If an offensive player is in front of the last defender, he is considered offside, and a free-kick to the defending team will be awarded.
In their half field, a player cannot be caught offside. The goalkeeper is not considered as a defender. If the ball is played backwards and the player is in front of the last defender, then he is not deemed to be offside.
It is a fact that football is the most popular sport in Malaysia. You cannot just take away the admiration of people towards international players and sports. It is gaining more popular than ever with the neighbouring countries.
Playing the game is such an experience anybody should try. Football is a steady sport that anyone around the world can enjoy playing.