Soccer & FIFA

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Soccer, better known internationally as football, is commonly recognized as the most popular team sport in the world. The overall goal of soccer is to score more goals than the opposing team by kicking, heading, or redirecting the ball into the other team's net while also keeping it out of your own. Each team has eleven players playing on the field at once. Ten players are designated as outfield players while the eleventh acts as the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper, who is allowed to use their hands, is tasked with defending the net to stop the other team from scoring. With the writing of the Cambridge Rules in 1863 to establish uniform regulations, modern soccer was born. [1] The game has subsequently spread throughout the world, as 205 countries and territories currently have Men's soccer teams recognized and ranked by FIFA. [2]

In 1993, Electronic Arts introduced the FIFA video game franchise. The video game series allows users to play as both club and national teams from around the world. The FIFA franchise was made famous for being the first video game series to be officially licensed by the FIFA governing body. This allowed the game to use real teams, badges, player names, and player likeness within the game. Since the initial release in 1993, Electronic Arts has released a sequel every subsequent year with the most recent installment being FIFA 17[3]. These games have often been met with critical acclaim and sold with much success. There are many ethical concerns surrounding the sport itself as well as the video game series.

David Beckham preparing for a throw in.


Early history

19th century soccer game

Soccer, known by the rest of the world as football, originated in the 19th century in Britain. It has been played according to different rules based on the geographic location. Overall rules were very limited, and “folk” football was know as a brutal game. The first regulations of football rules date back to 1843 when University of Cambridge students attempted to standardize and codify the rules of play. In 1863, after a series of meetings of clubs from around London and close counties convened, the first written rules of football were established. The most well-known rule was set at that point, which states that carrying the ball with one's hand(s) is prohibited. In 1870 Football Association (FA) gave permission to a designated goalkeeper to handle the ball with his/her hands. [4]


Soccer Pitch
Clubs from all over the world compete through various leagues such as the English Premier League [5], La Liga [6], Serie A [7], Bundesliga [8] and more, for league titles and league cup titles. Furthermore, the most popular soccer tournament is organized each year by UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and is called the Champions League. This tournament was originally known as the European Champions Club’s Cup. The Champions League finale can be compared to American football's Super Bowl in terms of popularity. The best clubs from around Europe have to qualify to the tournament by going through group stages followed by knockout stages. It is a very long process and the champion is considered to be the best team in all of Europe (which is considered to be the most competitive continent for soccer). The club team that has the most wins in this prestigious competition is Spanish Real Madrid, which has nine tournament championships, followed by Italian club AC Milan, which has seven, and British club Liverpool, which has five. [9]
Champions League Logo

At the international level, players compete for the FIFA [10] (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, which takes place once every four years. The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The 2010 World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands drew over 700 million viewers. [11] in 2010. International squads must play over a four year qualification process, and 32 teams make the final cut. Brazil leads all countries with five titles with Italy having second most with four. [12] The World Cup is one of many international tournaments. Each individual soccer federation, one corresponding to each continent, also holds their own tournament, such as the Gold Cup, the UEFA European Championship, or Copa America.

Fifa Video Games

Electronic Arts began selling FIFA video games in 1994, with the release of "Fifa International Soccer". This game introduced a isometric viewpoint, that had not been used in previous soccer video games. [13] Today, Electronic Arts develops these games for platforms such as Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android and iOS. The most recent iteration of this series of games is FIFA 17, which was released on September 27, 2016 .[14] This game includes over 70 stadiums, and features over 30 leagues and more than 650 playable teams from around the world.[15][16]. Within the game, there are various game modes such as: Be a Pro, Career Mode, Online Seasons, and FIFA Ultimate Team. In 2015, EA Sports added women's football to the game by putting in 12 licensed international women's teams into the FIFA 16 game.[17]


Buffon, Italy's goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper (GK)

The goalkeeper's job is to prevent the other team from scoring a goal. They are the only players that are allowed to use their hands, assuming that they are within the designated 18 yard box. Some of the best known goalkeepers in today's game include Spain's Iker Casillas, named to FIFA's FIFPro World XI as the world's best goalkeeper [18] and Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, goalkeeper for Italy's 2006 World Cup winning squad who surrendered only 2 goals in the entire tournament. [19]


Centre-back (CB)

These defenders are crucial to a squad's defense. They are the last line of defense and the primary players that mark an opposing team's strikers. Players at these positions are usually bigger than most other players on the pitch. While there are fewer statistics to quantify a centerback's skills, Belgium's Vincent Kompany and Spain's Gerald Pique are known to be two of the world's best centerbacks. [20]

English centerback John Terry during a match

Full-back/Right-back/Left-back (FB/RB/LB/RWB/LWB)

Players in this position are located wide of the CB's, and focus on shutting down crosses into the penalty area where an opposing striker may be to head a ball or to close off wide play by opposing wings. These players are usually smaller, faster defenders who can track the opposition's speedy wingers, or even advance up the field to support their own team's attacking play. England's Ashley Cole, known for his attacking play and currently has played in the most games ever for England's National Team, is considered one of the world's best leftbacks. [21] On the other side of the pitch, Brazil's Dani Alves is known as one of the best attacking fullbacks in the world because of his speed and ability to cross the ball into the box. [22]

Midfielders (DM/AM/CAM/CDM)

Midfielders take on both offensive and defensive responsibilities, and tend to do a lot of running up and down the pitch. Depending on their role, some are used as scoring threats in tandem with a team's strikers or as an extra line of defense. Whichever role they specialize in, midfielders must have top-notch vision of the pitch and passing skills to thrive in the midfield, between the attacking and defending zones. England's Frank Lampard, the highest scoring midfielder in the English Premier League since its establishment in 1992, is renowned for his all-around skill as a "clinical finisher, proficient tackler, and gifted passer." [23]

Lionel Messi, one of Barcelona's top strikers.
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of Portugal's top forwards.

Forwards (CF/LW/RW/ST)

Also known as strikers depending on their roles, this position consists of players who are mainly focused on attacking the opposing team's net and scoring goals. Throughout the years, several players have come and gone in the sport and have made their mark on history. Oftentimes, forwards are the most well-known players due to their tendency to score more often than players at other positions. Today, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) are regarded as two of the best players of this generation, racking up an impressive list of awards and honors during their careers in the game. Ronaldo won the FIFA player of the year award in 2008 and Messi won the award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. [24]

Soccer Terminology

  • Corner Kick: The opposing team's kick on the corner of the defending team when the ball passed over the goal line by the defending team.
  • Goal Kick: The goalkeeper's kick when the ball passed over the goal line by the opposing team.
  • Punt: When the goalkeeper saves a ball, he can drop kick it far to the other players on the team.
  • Kick-Off: The start of each period and after a goal.
  • Free Kick: A kick that is issued to the fouled team everywhere on the field besides opposite sides’ penalty area.
  • Penalty Kick: A kick that is issued to the fouled team in the penalty area.
  • Throw-In: The throw of the ball when the ball passed over the sidelines. One variation is when a player does a flip throw in where the player performs a somersault before throwing the ball into play.
  • Red Card: Player misconduct determined to be the most severe by the referee. The red-carded player is ejected from the game and his team must finish the match without another player to replace him.
  • Yellow Card: A caution put upon a player by the referee for the player's misconduct. Two yellow cards leads to a red card.
  • Offsides Rule: A player is in offside position if he/she is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

Ethical Concerns

The most popular sport in the world is surrounded by controversies, foul play, cheating, and more. This happens through fixing of matches, taunting during play and through different cheap shots taken in several exhibition games. It is also present in the virtual world of gaming through online taunting through voice messages, text messages and the ever-popular user celebrations that ignite gamers' tempers.

Corruption Cases

In 2015 there were a series of investigations into many FIFA officials, including the president at the time, Sepp Blatter. United States Federal Prosecutors led these investigations.

US Prosecution

In May, 2015 the FBI indicted 14 FIFA officials on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. Attorney General Lynch explained that “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.” [25] Later in the month Sepp Blatter would win the race to be re-elected FIFA President. Shortly after, FIFA would provisionally ban Blatter, and instate Issa Hayatou as the Interim President. Following the Investigation, eight defendants pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit more than $40 million dollars collectively.

  • World Cup Bid Process Suspended
    • The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup was halted after allegations of bribery surrounding the bidding process of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups[26] The ethics of the voting process for these World Cups have been questioned, as there have bee multiple allegations of FIFA officials accepting bribes for votes. The future remains uncertain for these events.

Real Life


One major issue in the modern game is racism against different ethnicities. Racism is particularly visible in soccer because of the wide range of countries from which the players are from. In a single club team, there could be tens of different countries represented. FIFA has been campaigning strongly to "kick racism out of football," pitching this popular slogan in all areas of the game. [27]. Recent developments have seen many different players fined large amounts of money and/or suspended from playing in games due to their actions being determined to be racist. In one major case, John Terry, former captain of England's National Football Team, was fined £220,000 by England's Football Association and suspended for 4 games in October 2012 for racially abusing fellow soccer player Anton Ferdinand during a match in 2011. [28] Soccer has also suffered from many problems with racist fans. In countries such as Italy, Spain, Poland, and Bulgaria, as well as others, there have been instances of monkey chants towards black players, bananas being thrown at them, as well as Nazi salutes. [29] [30] Back in 2009, Italian soccer club Juventus was ordered to play a match against Internazionale behind closed doors, with no fan support, in response to racist actions against outspoken and controversial soccer star Mario Balotelli. [31]

Actions Against Racism

2002: FIFA started holding world days against discrimination and racism - “Racism is a blight that we must eradicate forcefully and resolutely,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter during one. “Football has a unifying power that can and must be used to combat discrimination of all kinds.”

2002: Celebrities join FIFA's fight - FIFA enlisted the help of a number of football’s celebrities to campaign against racism in football, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Thierry Henry, Mia Hamm, Pele, Michel Platini and Lilian Thuram.

2004: Code of Ethics approved - The FIFA Executive Committee approved a Code of Ethics, which included a statute that “officials, players and players’ agents may not act in a discriminatory manner, especially with regard to ethnicity, race, culture, politics, religion, gender or language.”

2006: amendment to art. 55 of FIFA Disciplinary Code - The FIFA Executive Committee approved an amendment to article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, at the proposal of President Blatter, allowing for very strict sanctions to be imposed after acts of racism or discrimination in football.

2006 - ‘Say no to Racism’ campaign. FIFA launched its ‘Say no to Racism’ campaign in April 2006. Months later at the FIFA World Cup™, large ‘Say no to Racism’ banners were displayed prominently during the pre-match formalities, while anti-racism mini-spots were made available for free to all TV broadcasters of the tournament.

2007 - ’90 minutes for Mandela” game. FIFA used the ’90 minutes for Mandela’ match, which was contested between an African and Rest of the World XIs, to aid the fight against racism. Over 35,000 watched the likes of Ruud Gullit, George Weah, Emilio Butragueno and Samuel Eto’o in action, with millions more watching via television in more than 150 countries across the globe.

2010: Anti-Discrimination days at South Africa 2010 - The captains of the teams playing South Africa 2010 quarter-finals on 30 June and 1 July, which were FIFA Anti-Discrimination Days, read pre-match pledges against racism. “[Football] is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers,” said Mandela. “It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”[31]

Fixed Matches

The sport is victim to match fixing through the bribing of referees, managers and players.[32] Certain positions are easier to utilize in order to swing games such as a midfield player using poor midfield passing leading to ball turnovers or paying the goalkeepers to let goals get by them.


During matches, emotions run high as squads battle for positions in their leagues, trophies and bragging rights among rivals. One of the most memorable instances of foul play was during the 2006 World Cup final when Zinedine Zidane of France headbutted Marco Materazzi of Italy in the chest after Materazzi insulted his sister. [33] FIFA rules state that fouls are to be called for kicking, tripping, jumping at, striking, pushing, or tackling another player in a "careless, reckless" manner or one that uses "excessive force." [34].

Zinedine Zidane headbutt

Flopping, or feigning injury, has also become a regular aspect in professional soccer matches, usually performed with the intent of drawing penalties or fouls against the other team. FIFA VP Jim Boyce called the ongoing practice "a little bit of a cancer within the game" and described a specific instance that was "nothing less than a form of cheating." [35] This has caused many soccer fans to push for more strict rules regarding flopping to further discourage players from participating in such behavior. [36] Fans have argued that this has a negative effect on the game this has taken of soccer as it delays the game and also causes confusion as to whether the player has actually sustained an injury. Often times, flopping is performed near the end of matches when a team is clinging onto a narrow lead in an attempt to waste the opponent's time and thus their chances to score.

Technology and Officiating

Hawk Eye in tennis

In the 2010 World Cup, England had an apparent goal against Germany to tie the match. However, the linesman did not see the ball cross the goal line and Germany held onto its 2-1 lead. In response to miscalls like these, FIFA has determined to invest in goal detection systems which would inform the referee if the ball fully crosses the goal line. FIFA has various tests that any system must complete [37], but if a system is certified, soccer will begin taking the path that many other professional sports have of implementing technology to aid officials such as football video reviews and tennis's Hawk-Eye

Since its introduction in 2012, the goal-line technology has to date been installed on four continents and has provided technical support to the officials in a number of tournaments. The Hawk-Eye technology, along with the GoalRef technology has now been used during the Club World Cup in Japan and during the Confederations Cup in Brazil. These new technologies have provided correct concrete judgment over disputed goals, as human error is no longer present in such decisions. They positively effect the ethical concerns with the authenticity of the game. Fans and officials were originally skeptical of introducing such technology, very similar to such sports like the NBA and MLB, in the game as it was looked upon as just a stepping-stone to have electronic regulations of all the game play. However, there would be no leeway in calls, which human judgment has and will always have the ability to do. [38]

  • The Hawk-Eye system will have six cameras loacted in each corresponding goal tracking the ball’s movements. Through finding the position of the ball through the cameras, a secure radio signal will be sent to the main referee to signify when the ball crosses the line. This technology has been in successful use by professional cricket and tennis tournaments. [39]
  • The GoalRef system is designed to signify the referee when the ball crosses the line through an embedded chip in the ball and the communication of the chip to sensors that are located in the goals. This might be the most likely choice for future installments of goal-line technology as it’s supposed to be less expensive to install compared to the Hawk-Eye.[39]

Soccer, Gender and Mass Media

The mass media often focuses on the social construction of women's sports. One of the most famous examples is Brandi Chastain, who became a soccer sensation. Her most notable act, as presented by mass media, was ripping off her shirt to reveal her sports bra on the playing field after a win. Instead of focusing on her skills and role as an athlete, news outlets consistently praised Chastain as the "girl who took off her shirt". [40] Although mention of her athletic abilities came into play, the focus laid in her unexpected action, which some considered to be deviant "female" behavior.

This is one example of sexism commonly found throughout the sports world, including soccer. Sports tend to emphasize traits that are typically considered masculine which leads men to be considered more athletic than women and men's sports to be garner significantly bigger live and television views than women's.[41] In the United States, player's on the United States Women's National Team make on average $25,000 a year, while the average player in the United States' Major League Soccer makes an average of $32,000 a year. While a new professional league is scheduled for play in 2013, two previous attempts at the creation of a women's professional soccer league in the United States have folded in 2003 and 2011 after 3 seasons of play each. [42] Meanwhile, Major League Soccer, the professional men's league in the United States has existed in its current form since 1996 and has continued to grow in popularity and profitability in recent years. [43]

FIFA is one of the most popular soccer video games.

Video Games


In any online gaming situation, the presence of chat rooms, forums, and voice communication enhances gameplay but also leads to online bullying through name-calling and other forms of trash talking or harassment. Online games are fairly anonymous, as players identities are linked only to a name of the player's choosing and not to his real-world identity. Though these actions go against the terms of use of the game systems [44], there are usually minimal to no consequences of any single act of harassment or bullying. In fact, this kind of behavior might even be encouraged, as it could distract the person being abused and give the user committing the harassment an advantage in the game.

User Celebrations

After a user scores a goal, he or she can perform celebrations based on certain combinations of buttons they press. This can be used as a source of displaying joy and satisfaction, but it can also serve as a potential way to insult opponents. It can either lighten the mood of all the players or it can become a source of frustration. For instance, most of the celebrations available are replicas of celebrations that real soccer players have performed during real matches. So, users enjoy reenacting those situations by performing such celebrations. However, if it is performed in a taunting manner or if the intention is not appropriate, then it can be used to insult the opponent. Many times this can lead to heightened tempers which compromises the quality of the game or competition and forces players to play with the wrong frame of mind.


Along with the growth of the FIFA franchise has come a variety of new gaming modes. The 2009 installment FIFA 09 introduced the mode "Ultimate Team"[45]. The game mode is one that starts each user off with an allotment of random, low rated players to build an 11-man team around. Players then have the option to play games or participate in tournaments both online and offline in order to earn in-game coins. These coins can be spent on new players via the "Transfer Market" or can be spent on a variety of "Ultimate Team Packs" from the in-game store. These packs contain a mix of low rated or potentially expensive and rare players, with the rare players having a smaller chance of showing up in the packs. Players also have the option to purchase these packs with real currency through credit card purchases in the in-game store. In 2016, Electronic Arts made $1.5 billion dollars in extra content sales. $650 million of that total came from the Ultimate Team game mode[46].

In 2017, a FIFA Youtuber by the name of Craig Douglas (commonly know by his Youtube name "NepentheZ") was charged with running an illegal online gambling website by the name of The site allowed users to wager virtual currency bought with real money in head to head FIFA 17 online games. Users of the site were found to be as young as twelve years old. Douglas was ordered to pay $114,000 as punishment while his business partner (Dylan Rigby) was ordered to pay around $216,000[47].


Cheating is a common ethical concern for FIFA and other soccer or sports-related video games. There are many ways to cheat in a virtual environment but people commit different levels of cheating depending on what each individual considers as ethical or moral. One way to cheat is by using a "created player" with a higher skills rating, gaining an unfair advantage over an opponent, whether the opponent is another person or a Central Processing Unit (CPU). A CPU is the Artificial Intelligence and Technology of the game's programing proving a virtual opponent for the user. Some users cheat by using FIFA Custom Tactics. This means changing the game's controls to make it easier for an inexperienced user to perform better against advanced players. These Custom Tactics can "give [users] a whole new FIFA experience and can help...less skilled FIFA [players] beat...higher skilled [opponents]." [48] Users have to grapple with the morality of such actions, as well as the possible differences in cheating against the CPU versus cheating against a human opponent.

See Also


  1. "Classic Football,
  2. "FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking" ,
  4. "Football.", Britannica.
  5. Premier League, Official Site
  6. La Liga, Official Site
  7. Serie A, Official Site
  8. Bundesliga, Official Site
  9. UEFA Champions League, Wikipedia
  10. FIFA, Official Site
  11. "FIFA: Over 700m viewers for World Cup final.", Sports Business. [
  12. "FIFA World Cup",
  13. First FIFA game :
  14. FIFA 2017 release:
  15. FIFA List of Stadiums:
  16. FIFA List of Teams:
  17. FIFA Women Page:
  18. "FIFA/FIFPro World XI." <>
  19. "Gianluigi Buffon." ESPN Soccernet. <>
  20. "World Power Rankings: Top centerbacks." Fox Soccer. <>
  21. "World Power Rankings: Top left backs." Fox Soccer. <>
  22. "World Power Rankings: Top right backs." Fox Soccer. <>
  23. Coggin, Steward. "Frank Lampard." World Soccer. <>
  24. "Ballon d'Or." <>
  25. United States Department of Justice
  26. BBC News
  27. "Let's Kick Racism Out of Football." <>
  28. Sale, Charles. "One year on, Terry FINALLY says sorry for racist he misses games with Rio AND special Kick It Out campaign." Mail Online. <>
  29. Longman, Jere. "Racism and Soccer Are in Play at a Big Event in East Europe" The New York Times. <>
  30. "Racism at Italian Soccer Matches." ABC News.<>
  31. 31.0 31.1 Juventus must play game behind closed doors [1]
  32. FIFA bans 3 officials over match-fixing scandal, The Associated Press, retrieved from
  33. Stevenson, Jonathan. "Italy beat France 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out to win the World Cup after an absorbing 1-1 draw in Berlin." BBC Sport. <>
  34. "Laws of the Game". FIFA. <>
  35. "FIFA VP calls diving a 'cancer'" ESPN. <>
  36. Torres, Cesar R. "On Diving: Soccer’s Integrity Is at Stake" Goal: The New York Times Soccer Blog. <>
  37. Malinowski EriK. (2011). FIFA Eyes 2012 for Goal-Line Tech Implementation. Playbook.
  38. Goal-Line Technology [2]
  39. 39.0 39.1 Soccer to Adopt Goal-Line Technology, Jack Bell, 5 July 2012
  40. Chastain Lifts Sports Apparel Market <>
  41. Seepersaud, Steve. "Female Athlete Salaries." AskMen. <>
  42. Whiteside, Kelly. "Women's pro soccer league to debut in U.S. next year". USA Today. <>
  43. Baxter, Kevin. "MLS steadily builds toward goal of profitability." The Los Angeles Times. <>
  44. "Reporting Abuse on Xbox Live." <>
  46. "EA's Ultimate Team earning around $650 million a year" <>
  47. "YouTube star fined $114,000 for running FIFA video game gambling site used by kids as young as 12" <>
  48. "FIFA Custom Tactics." <>

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