Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears. Sports commonly called 'football' in certain places include: association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby league or rugby union); and Gaelic football.[1][2] These different variations of football are known as football codes.


Several of the football codes are the most popular team sports in the world.[7] Globally, association football is played by over 250 million players in over 200 nations,[107] and has the highest television audience in sport,[108] making it the most popular in the world,[109] American football is the most popular sport in the United States,[110] with the annual Super Bowl game accounting for seven of the top eight of the most watched broadcasts in U.S. television history.[111] Australian rules football has the highest spectator attendance of all sports in Australia.[112][113] Similarly, Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of match attendance,[114] and the All-Ireland Football Final is the most watched event of that nation's sporting year.[115]