Why Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world?

There are plenty of sports in our world such as football, rugby, gridiron, tennis and basketball etc. Nevertheless, football is the most popular sport in the world, why? We have to check few things to know why.

                                                  football match between two teams




There is some ambiguity regarding the origin of this game, which is played between two teams containing eleven players each. However, history has shown that a game similar to modern football appeared in China many centuries ago in the name Cuju.

                                                         It is a game called Cuju.

Afterwards, many various forms of football appeared in England. However, football rules were set (codified) in 1863. when we look at tennis and handball, it was codified in 1870 and at the end of the 19th century respectively. Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith.

So football had a clear 30 years head start to popularize itself.




Rugby was codified 18 years before football, yet rugby isn't popular than football. It's because of professionalism.

Getting paid for playing football was illegal at earlier times. In 1885, the FA (football association) legalized wages in football and thereby football became a professional activity. But in rugby, the direct opposite happened. There was Rugby Union for rugby as the equivalent for FA in football. They didn't legalize wages. Therefore, the working class created their own association entitled Rugby League in order to become professional. This happened in 1895. But Rugby Union backed by the upper class responded by banning anything related to the Rugby League outside of England. Therefore, Rugby League couldn't expand. That's why rugby not popular than football even though it's still played and popular in Australia.

So, after legalizing wages in football, the working class got the opportunity to sacrifice hours of work to play professional football and still get paid. This was a major factor that contributed to the popularization of football.



Rules and Equipment

Another factor that makes football popular is its rules. Rules of football are universal unlike some other sports. Duration of a basketball match in the U.S.A is 48 minutes with four stoppage times. But internationally, it is 40 minutes. In Rugby Union, there are 15 players while it is 13 in League. Now, look into football. The duration of a football match is 90 minutes worldwide. As well, its number of players doesn't change. 

Football is also an easy sport in which you only need a ball at your feet to play. You can play it on grass, sand or even hard surfaces. Moreover, you don't need a real goalpost. You can just set it up with two stones, backpacks, footwears or even drawing a large rectangle on a wall without bottom line.       

                                                     Goalpost drawn on a wall

Considering some other sports, it isn't easy as football. In rugby, you need to play on a proper field to avoid getting injured on hard surfaces. In America or Canada, finding a basketball court is very easy and common. But in other countries, you can't play proper basketball without joining a club. 

The effortless setting and the easiness of football made it spread among people very fastly. 




Football is a sport that requires more stamina to play continuously for 90 minutes if not substituted. You can't play with a blubbery body. Instead, you need a fit body. And of talking about the body, you may have a doubt. Do height matters in football?

The average height of a female is 163 centimetres and of a male is 175 centimetres. When we check some other sports, we can find that the average height of a rugby player is 182 centimetres and of a tennis player is 186 centimetres. The average height of a basketball player is shockingly 2 metres. But in football, there is no need to tower everyone to play the game. You can find short, normal and tall players randomly in all positions in football. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo is tall and we all know that he rules the record book of football while Lionel Messi is short and still the king on field. As a matter of fact yeah, some people may say that goalkeepers and defenders require more height. All I can say is this is utter madness. Because we all know there are many short goalkeepers and defenders out there who rule their position. 

So you should understand that height doesn't matter in football. I mean, It's an advantage if you have it, but if you're short, it isn't a disadvantage. This will attract any sized people to football and make this more popular.




Football is not only the most popular but also the most beautiful game in the world. Beauty of this game isn't something that can be described in words, but something that should be experienced by viewing this game. You can see various types of goal shots and kicks such as straight shot, curved shot, chip shot, heel shot, knuckle shot, dipping shot, bicycle kick, scorpion kick, volley and panenka penalty etc. You can also see plenty of skillful movements on the field other than kicks and shots. This unlimited beauty always attracts people into this game.




Money is another highlight of football. Money always attracts people, especially the poor ones. We often use to hear stories about poor guys who earned millions from sports and turned rich. As well, football gave lives to millions as they dreamed. Football was and still is one of the top five highest-paid sports in the world.



Now we know why football is the most popular sport in the world. Because it was born in the right place at the right time, it embraced professionalism fastly and it has a comprehensible set of rules that made it easy to follow and play. Moreover, anyone can play this sport regardless of size and origin. At last, the most important thing is that no sophisticated equipments are required, only a ball is.


Not saying that only these factors made football popular, but these factors played a major role in the popularization of football (soccer).

Sources: Wikipedia, google, youtube and others.


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