Football is played on a football pitch, also referred to as a football pitch. Law 1, « The Field of Play, » of the Laws of the Game specifies its dimensions and markings. Although professional and recreational teams frequently play on dirt grounds, the pitch is normally made of natural or artificial turf. Only green surfaces made of artificial materials are permitted.
On the field, every line marking is a component of the space that it delineates. For instance, a ball that is on or above the boundary of the touchline is still in play, and a foul that is committed over the line defining the penalty zone results in a penalty. As a result, for a ball to be out of play and for a goal to be scored, it must completely cross both the touchline and the goal line otherwise, the goal cannot be scored and the ball is still in play.
The following is a discussion of the field definitions that apply to adult matches. The dimensions of the playing field were initially defined and expressed in imperial units due to the significance of British football organisations in the development of the sport. Imperial equivalents are only provided in brackets because the Laws of the Game prefer metric units since 1997. Since the actual values have largely been consistent since the early 20th century, they tend to be round numbers in imperial units (for instance, the goal’s width has remained the same since 1863 at 8 yards, or 7.32 metres). Particularly in the UK, the use of imperial values is still widespread.
Limit of pitch
There are four sides to the pitch. The touchlines are the longer sides, and the goal lines are the shorter sides. The width and length requirements for the two goal lines are 45–90 m (49–98 yd) and respectively. The length of the two touchlines, which must be equal, ranges from 90 to 120 metres (98 to 131 yards). Not to exceed 12 cm (5 in), all lines on the ground’s surface are equally wide. Corner flags identify the four corners of the field.
The size of the field is more strictly regulated for international games; the touchlines are within 100 and 110 m (110 and 120 yd) long, while the goal lines are between 64 and 75 m (70 and 82 yd) wide. Most top-tier pro football fields, like those used by teams in the English Premier League, are between 112 and 115 yards (102.4 to 105.2 metres) long and 70 to 75 yards (64.0 to 68.6 metres) broad.
On each goal line, goals are positioned in the middle. These are made of two straight posts that are spaced evenly from the corner flag post and are connected at the top by a horizontal crossbar. The lower edge of the crossbar is lifted to 2.44 metres (8 feet) above the pitch, while the inner edges of the posts must be 7.32 metres (24 feet) apart (in width). The players’ shooting area is therefore 17.86 sq m (192 sq ft).
White, wooden, metal, or another material that has been approved, must be used for crossbars and goalposts. Goalposts and crossbars must follow rules that do not endanger players, albeit these rules are a little more forgiving than those governing goalposts. Despite this, injuries from crashing into goal posts still happen often, and little research has been done on this element of player safety.
Defending and scoring zones
The goal area, also known as the « six-yard box, » is made up of a rectangle that is 6 yards by 20 yards and is defined by the goal line, two lines that start on the goal line 5.5 yards from the goalposts and extend 5.5 yards into the field, and a line connecting these lines. Anywhere in this region is fair game for goal kicks and any free kicks awarded to the other team. Indirectly free kicks to the attacking team for an offence inside the opposition’s goal area are taken from the closest point on the goal area line, which moves parallel to the line of goal, according to FIFA’s rules of the game.
The typical surface for play is grass, but artificial turf may occasionally be used, particularly in regions where maintaining grass may be challenging owing to bad weather. This could apply to places where the grass is frequently used, where it is frequently wet, where it is frequently dry, and where it is dying from the conditions. In the Nordic nations, where there is a lot of snow during the winter, artificial turf fields are becoming more and more popular.