Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played with a sphericalball between two teams of 11 players. It is played by approximately 250million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to outscore the opposition by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. The team with the higher number of goals wins the game.
Football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The ball is 68–70cm (27–28in) in circumference and known as the football. The two teams each compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts and under the bar), thereby scoring a goal. Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Each team is led by a captain who has only one official responsibility as mandated by the Laws of the Game: to represent their team in the coin toss prior to kick-off or penalty kicks.
Football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years. The FIFA World Cup has taken place every four years since 1930 with the exception of 1942 and 1946 tournaments, which were cancelled due to World War II. Approximately 190–200 national teams compete in qualifying tournaments within the scope of continental confederations for a place in the finals. The finals tournament, which is held every four years, involves 32 national teams competing over a four-week period. It is the most prestigious football tournament in the world as well as the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding the Olympic Games. (Full article...)
Manchester City entered the Football League in 1899, and won their first major honour with the FA Cup in 1904. It had its first major period of success in the late 1960s, winning the League, FA Cup and League Cup under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, which eventually saw them relegated as far down as third tier of English football by the end of the 1997–98 season. They since regained promotion to the top tier in 2001–02 and have remained a fixture in the Premier League since 2002–03. In 2008, Manchester City was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group for £210million and received considerable financial investment.