Football Field – Diagram With Sizes and Dimensions

Football field diagram

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The Intricacies of a Football Field

It doesn’t really matter where you go in the world, you are bound to find a group of people kicking a ball around on a professional or makeshift field. Close to four billion people avidly follow the sport and it is estimated that around four percent of the world’s population is involved in football in some way. Talk about a global phenomenon! Clearly, the field on which The Beautiful Sport is played deserves a closer look. Here are some fascinating details about a football pitch.

The Dimensions of a Football Field

Interestingly enough, there aren’t really set dimensions for a football field. FIFA, who is the governing authority, over most official games and elements has minimum and maximum measurements rather than specific lengths and widths. This means that there can be considerable differences from one field to the next, even among professional pitches. To add to this confusion, FIFA has a whole separate set of rules for international matches. These, too, are in the form of a range of widths and lengths. The only real equalizer among the fields is that they must maintain their aspect ratio – i.e. be in the shape of a rectangle.

For non-international matches, the field can be between 90 and 120 meters long – these boundaries known as the touch lines. The width of such a pitch would need to be a distance between 45 and 90 meters. These lines are called goal lines. At the four corners, where the touch and goal lines intersect, there are quarter circles. These each have a radius of 0.91m.

For international matches, the touch lines can be anywhere from 100 to 110 meters long. The goal lines can measure between 64m and 75m. All of the marking lines cannot be thicker than 12cm and are typically drawn in white.

Fortunately, most of the markings on the field remain constant and therefore are the same across pitches. The halfway line can be found at the halfway point of the touchline, with the line running parallel to the goal line. Exactly in the middle of the halfway line is the center mark and surrounding it is a circle. This circle has a radius of 9.15m.

The goal is 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 m tall. The goal area is 5.5m long and 18.52m wide. Beyond that is the penalty box. This is 16.5m x 40.52m. Sometimes, there are marks made 9.15m away from the corner arc so that defending players know how far to go for a corner kick.

Within the penalty box, there is spot known as the penalty mark. It is precisely 11m away from the goal line. Resting on the penalty line is an arc with a radius of 9.15m. This is called the penalty arc.

What Does a Football Field Consist of?

Much like with the dimensions, football associations do allow for a bit of variety when it comes to what their pitches are constructed from. Therefore, pitches within a country and around the world can actually vary quite a bit. There are typically three types of pitches that official matches are played on. These are matches that are entirely played on grass, those that are completely composed of synthetic materials and finally, ones that are a hybrid of the two.

It is becoming increasingly common to find stadiums that use artificial or hybrid grass for their pitches. The most well-known hybrid grass is known as Desso Grassmaster and it has been sanctioned by FIFA. This is composed of real grass and artificial fibers – the fibers make up about 3 percent of the entire pitch. As the grass grows it entangles with the fibers, allowing it to be more durable and also create a more even pitch.

3G pitches are ones that are made entirely from synthetic materials. These are mostly used in Scotland and the Scandinavian Peninsula. The synthetic blades of ‘grass’ are peppered with rubber crumb infill, which is produced from recycled tire. These type of pitches are able to withstand a great deal more abuse than their natural counterparts.

The Evolution of the Football Pitch

It is safe to say that as long as there were rounded objects on the ground, people have been kicking them around. Doing so almost feels like a natural reflex. This is why it should come as no surprise that some form of football or the other has been around for almost a thousand years, perhaps even longer. The origins of the game can be found in East Asia and even Egypt, although it is difficult to say for certain where it all began.

While there is not much information available about those first pitches, they were obviously quite rudimentary. It is more than likely that these games were played on dirt pitches. The first recorded pitches – which was somewhere around the 1860s – was completely made from grass, as you can imagine.

In the 1980s however artificial turf – a cruder version of the modern 3G – began to emerge. As it required a lot less maintenance, several professional stadiums adopted it. However, when it became clear that the turf was causing injuries and the balls tended to bounce a little wildly, grass fell back into favor.

In 2001, however, the 3G grass began to gain popularity as it was a new and improved version of what was introduced all those decades ago. In fact, FIFA actually made allowances for certain pitches to be made from this artificial grass. It was particularly helpful in countries where real grass was difficult to grow due to unforgiving weather conditions.

Of course, things continued to progress and 4G pitches (made from Desso Grassmaster) were also put forth. While FIFA recognizes this form of pitch, the Football Association has yet to make allowances for it. The FIFA World Cup, hosted in Brazil in 2014, had a pitch made from 4G materials.

It should be noted that there has been a lot of back and forth about what football pitches should be made of. Even today, the discussions rage on. This, in part, is due to the various allegations that the components of 3G and artificial pitches actually contain health hazards. Of course, until investigations are concluded about such matters, there is no way to know for sure.

What is clear, however, is that the football field has not finished evolving. Imagine, what it may be made of in several decades time!

Fields Similar to a Football Pitch

Perhaps the pitch that is most similar to that of football is field hockey. They even have similar dimensions with a typical hockey pitch being about 100m long and 55 meters wide. They are also played on either grass or artificial surfaces. Perhaps where the greatest comparison lies, however, is that field hockey has a goal area that is very close to that of association football – net and all.

If you were out of choices, you could also perhaps start a game of football on a rugby field. A rugby field is 100m long and 70m wide, which does fall within the perimeter of what a football pitch could be. Also, since it is typically played on grass, the surface is the same as well.

Here is everything that you could possibly want to know about a football field. There is a lot of history and decision making behind the vivid green pitch which makes all the more alluring.


Last updated on November 24, 2017

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