Soccer is a team sport in which two teams of 11 players compete against each other using a spherical ball. Association football is more frequently referred to as football or soccer. It is the most popular sport in the world, with roughly 250 million participants in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the most widely practised sport on the planet. Pitch football is played on a rectangular field with two goals at each end, which is known as a pitch. To win a soccer match, the aim is to score more goals than your opponent by getting the ball over their goal line and into the opposing goal as quickly as possible, often within 90 minutes or less of each other.
Football is administered on a global scale by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which organises World Cups for men and women every four years in various locations around the world. Until the World War II intervened, the FIFA World Cup for men has been held every four years since 1930, with the exception of the 1942 and 1946 games, which were both postponed due to the war. It is estimated that around 190–200 national teams play in qualifying events within the framework of continental confederations in order to qualify for the finals. The finals event, which takes place every four years and comprises 32 national teams competing over four weeks, is held once every four years. It is the most prestigious men's football tournament in the world, as well as the most extensively observed and followed athletic event on the planet, surpassing even the Olympic Games in terms of viewership and participation. Similarly, the FIFA Women's World Cup has been held every four years since 1991, despite the fact that women have been involved in football since the sport's inception. The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France drew a record-breaking 1.12 billion viewers, setting a new world record.
Europe's most prominent club football events, including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Women's Champions League, are broadcast live across the globe on television, and they are the most watched competitions in the world. In recent years, the final of the men's tournament has surpassed all other yearly athletic events in terms of global television viewership. The Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy), and Ligue 1 (France) are the top five European men's leagues, respectively (France). Each of the leagues has a total pay cost in excess of £600 million/€763 million/US$1.185 billion due to the fact that they attract the majority of the world's greatest players.