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Governing Rules

The rules that govern Australian football came into existence in 1859 by the Melbourne football club, and modifications have been made over the years as the game evolved and changed with the times. The highest governing body of Australian football is the AFL (Australian football league).

Australian football laws are the rules that govern an Australian football match on and off the field. These laws explain how the game is to be played in a smooth manner that speaks to its fairness and sportsmanship and applies to every Australian football match organised by the governing body. However, the laws are subject to the discretion of the AFL, making variations to the law at will.

According to the law, the game is to be played between two teams aiming to score more points than the other team to ensure they win the game. However, the game is said to be drawn when both teams have the same number of points.

For each football match, the controlling body is at liberty to select umpires for a game. However, in a situation whereby the controlling body cannot or did not appoint a boundary or goal umpire, the field umpire for that match may choose persons to officiate in this post after seeking consent from both teams. Also, when a field umpire is unavailable for one reason or the other, both teams may decide to play the match and appoint someone to stand in as the field umpire.


Female rugby players on the field

In a football match, the players are not expected to put on any form of jewellery, any protective equipment which is not among the standard equipment provided by the governing body. The approved protective equipment may include; helmets, knee braces, shoulder pads, back support, arm guards and any other item the governing body deems as protective equipment. It should, however, be noted that the equipment mentioned can be considered dangerous by the umpire in the course of the match and can be prohibited.

A football match will last for 80 minutes. It is divided into four quarters, and each quarter is 20 minutes long asides from extra or stoppage time. There are allotments for breaks during the quarter, but these breaks are subject to ratification by the governing body.

Moreover, the law saddles the governing body with the responsibility of disciplining players and officials. The discipline of players and officials may be suspension, or it could be monetary, such as payment of fines.

The governing body is also to take the health and safety of its players importantly. Hence, any player with an active bleed may not continue the game. Also, unless in situations of dire need where the treatment needs to be administered immediately for the player’s safety, treatment will not be rendered to a player with an active bleed while still on the field.

The laws that have been discussed here are not exhaustive. The Australian football league has a complete rule book that provides for how the game is played.

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