Australian Rules Football
Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called Aussie rules, football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of eighteen players on an oval-shaped field, often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the oval-shaped ball between the opposing goal posts (worth six points) or behind posts (worth one point). The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins unless a draw is declared. It is a form of football with roots traceable from early forms of Rugby and Gaelic football, but it is uniquely Australian. Its rules were codified in 1858, and probably predate all other modern forms of football, such as American, Canadian, Rugby Union and League, Association (Soccer) and Gaelic football.
Australian football has the highest spectator attendance and television viewership of all sports in Australia, while the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport's only fully professional competition, is the nation's wealthiest sporting body. Its annual grand final is the highest attended club championship event in the world. The sport is also played at amateur level in many countries and in several variations. The game's rules are governed by the AFL Commission with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee.
Laws of the game: The laws of Australian rules football describe the rules of the game of Australian rules football as they have evolved and adapted, with the same underlying core rules, since 1859. The current laws consist of an extensive document titled "Laws of Australian Football", which contains the rules and interpretations of the game, and is managed and administered by the Australian Football League.
- Field: Australian rules football playing fields have no fixed dimensions but at senior level are typically between 135 and 185 metres long and 110 and 155 metres wide wing-to-wing. The field, like the ball, is oval-shaped, and in Australia, cricket grounds are often used. No more than 18 players of each team are permitted to be on the field at any time.
- Match duration: A game consists of four quarters and a timekeeper officiates their duration. At the professional level, each quarter consist of 20 minutes of play, with the clock being stopped for instances such as scores, the ball going out of bounds or at the umpire's discretion, e.g. for serious injury. Lower grades of competition might employ shorter quarters of play.
- General play: Australian football begins after the first siren, when the umpire bounces the ball on the ground (or throws it into the air if the condition of the ground is poor), and the two ruckmen (typically the tallest players from each team) battle for the ball in the air on its way back down. This is known as the ball-up.
- Scoring: A goal, worth 6 points, is scored when the football is propelled through the goal posts at any height (including above the height of the posts) by way of a kick from the attacking team. It may fly through "on the full" (without touching the ground) or bounce through, but must not have been touched, on the way, by any player from either team. A goal cannot be scored from the foot of an opposition (defending) player.
Structure and competitions: The AFL is recognised by the Australian Sports Commission as being the National Sporting Organisation for Australian Football. There are also seven state/territory-based organisations in Australia, most of which are now either owned by or affiliated to the AFL. The AFL is the de facto world governing body for Australian football. There are also a number of affiliated organisations governing amateur clubs and competitions around the world.
Women's Australian football: The AFL Women's National Championships is women's football's state of origin competition. On the back of the inaugural AFL Women's Draft in 2013 and a series of exhibition matches at the MCG, the AFL stated that, by 2020, it would like to establish AFL Women's, a semi-professional, nationally televised women's league.