Association football, often called soccer in some parts of the world, is one of the most popular sports in the world. People all across the globe regularly play and watch football and it has grown to not only be a huge source of entertainment but also one of the biggest businesses on the planet. This is largely down to its simplicity, with two teams of eleven players attempting to kick the ball into the net to score a goal, meaning that it can effectively be played with just a ball. Here is a selection of bizarre facts and crazy stats that you never knew about the beautiful game.
A Player Was Sent Off After Just Two Seconds
Any player who is shown the red card by a referee must leave the field of play. They are generally rare occurrences and normally happen for serious foul play or violence. However, one footballer was sent off after just two seconds in 2000. As the referee blew his whistle to signal the start of the game, Lee Todd exclaimed, “F**k me, that was loud,” prompting the referee to show a red card for using foul language.
Christmas Truce Saw Soldiers Play Soccer
Despite the fact that World War I was a brutal conflict, many soldiers along the Western Front entered into an unofficial truce at Christmas 1914. They exchanged gifts and supplies, sang hymns and Christmas songs and allowed each other to send messages and collect dead comrades. Most bizarre of all though were the sporadic games of soccer that broke out between German and British soldiers in between the trenches.
Considering the huge popularity of soccer all around the world it should come as little surprise that the biggest tournament in the game is the most watched sporting event. It dwarfs other competitions such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl, with a viewership of more than 700 million people.
There Are 3.5 Billion Fans
According to research carried out by FIFA and data gathered by the likes of Google and Twitter, there are approximately 3.5 billion soccer fans in the world. These are people who regularly watch games or actively support a particular team. That figure means that almost half of the people in the world follow soccer.