Football, or soccer as it’s known in some parts of the world, is more than just a sport; it’s a global phenomenon that brings people together like few other things can.
While the official rules of the game are well-documented, there are many unwritten rules that govern the way football is played, watched, and enjoyed.
These unwritten rules have evolved over time and are an integral part of the football culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore 11 unwritten rules of football/soccer that every fan should know.
1. Respect the Referee
The first unwritten rule of football is to respect the referee. While it’s natural to disagree with some decisions, it’s important to remember that referees are human and can make mistakes. Booing, insulting, or harassing the referee not only creates a hostile atmosphere but also goes against the spirit of the game.
Players are bound to respect the referee because they can get penalized but fans also need to respect the decisions of a referee so the game can move on smoothly.
2. Don’t Celebrate Injuries
It’s a coward’s way of earning a win. Injuries are a part of any sport, including football. It’s essential to show empathy when a player is hurt, regardless of which team they play for. Celebrating an opponent’s injury is considered unsportsmanlike and disrespectful.
3. Applaud Great Skill
It’s a gesture that shows genuine love for the sport. Regardless of which team you support, true football fans appreciate exceptional skill and talent. When a player executes a beautiful dribble, a perfect pass, or a stunning goal, it’s customary to applaud and acknowledge their brilliance, even if it benefits the opposing team.
It’s true that home supporters are the 12th player on the pitch but often a player from opposition does something that you have to applaud and appreciate just for the love of the game.
4. Silence During Penalties
This one is not a must but mostly if you see a big player taking a penalty, it’s better not to boo or distract them. They will score more than 90% of the times anyway so booing him will most probably hit back because it will only encourage a top player to give their best.
It’s better to go into a hushed silence. This unwritten rule shows respect for the pressure that the penalty taker is under and allows them to concentrate on the task at hand.
5. Don’t Leave Early
Leaving the stadium before the final whistle is considered bad in football. You never know when a late goal might change the outcome of the game, and true fans stay until the end to support their team.
6. Don’t Jinx It
Football fans are often superstitious, and many believe in the concept of “jinxing” a game. This means that saying out loud that your team is sure to win can bring bad luck. So, it’s best to avoid overly confident statements until the game is over.
7. The Away Goal Silence
When the away team scores a goal, there is often a brief silence from the home fans. This is a mark of respect for the opposing team but is quickly followed by renewed support for the home side.
8. Don’t Take Over Someone Else’s Chants
Each football club has its own unique chants and songs. It’s generally frowned upon to start singing a rival team’s chants or to take over someone else’s chant in the stands. Respect the traditions of your own team.
9. Know the Rivalries
Football rivalries can be intense and sometimes even violent. It’s essential to be aware of the rivalries associated with your team and avoid provoking or taunting fans of rival clubs, especially when attending an away game.
10. Tailor Your Attire
Wearing the colors and merchandise of your favorite team is a standard practice for fans. However, it’s wise to be mindful of the environment. Wearing your team’s gear in a rival team’s neighborhood can lead to unwanted attention or confrontation.
11. Be a Responsible Fan
Lastly, being a responsible fan means enjoying the game in a respectful and safe manner. Avoid excessive drinking, violence, and vandalism. Remember that your actions reflect not only on yourself but also on the entire fan base and the sport as a whole.