FIFA, short for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (the International Federation of Association Football), is an international governing body for football, or as it's called in the United States, soccer. FIFA is charged with overseeing rule changes in the sport and also organizing international tournaments such as the World Cup. FIFA runs four organized youth tournaments: FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. FIFA's headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland.
Laws of the Game
In February 2009, FIFA modified the Laws of the Game at the 123rd Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The new laws took effect on July 1, 2009, and are applicable to all FIFA tournaments, including the four youth tournaments: FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
Periods of Play
In FIFA tournaments, matches last 90 minutes, divided into two equal periods of 45 minutes, with an interval half-time of 15 minutes or less between each period. FIFA permits an alternation of play duration or half-time rest, provided it's mutually agreed upon by both teams before the start of play. For example, the periods can be reduced to 40 minutes to compensate for insufficient daylight time. Most non-FIFA youth tournaments are reduced to two 35-minute periods with a 5-minute half time.
Additionally, allowance for any time lost is made in the discretion of FIFA referees. However, allowances are commonly made to compensate time lost for substitutions of players, assessment of injuries or from removing an injured player off the field.
Kick-offs must be used to start a match or restart play. For example, kick-offs are used at the start of the match, after a goal has been scored, at the start of the second period after the interval half time and at the start of each period of overtime, where applicable. At kick-off, all players must be in their designated half of the field. The ball must be stationary on the center mark and opponents taking the kick-off must be at least 10 yards (9.15 meters) from the ball until the referee gives a signal to start play. The ball is "in play" once it is kicked and moved away from the center line.
In Play vs. Out of Play & Goals
A ball is "out of play" when it has crossed the goal line, whether on the ground or in the air. The ball is also out of play when it has been stopped by the referee. Ball are considered "in play" at all other times, including when the ball rebounds off of a goalpost or other object in the field, including if it rebounds off of a referee. A goal is scored when the ball completely passes over the goal line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar. Balls still partially on the line do not qualify as goals.
Players receive a warning, a yellow card, when they present unsportsmanlike behavior, dissent to a referee's call, show persistent infringement to the Laws of the Game, intentionally cause delays in starting or restarting the game or enter or leave the field without prior permission from the referee. Players will be removed from the field if they exhibit foul play or violent conduct, spit at another player, use offensive language, receive two yellow cards in the same match or otherwise violate the laws of the game.
General Youth Tournament Rules & Eligibility
FIFA youth tournament are classified by age, U-20 for under 20 and U-17, for under 17 and then by gender. Non-FIFA tournaments are classified by age in years. For example, U-14 is a youth tournament for players under the age of 14. All players must be the appropriate age and gender to play and be in good standing with their state, national and regional associations. All players must also wear the same uniform with individual numbers on the jersey. Players are not permitted to wear jewelry, including watches. Shin guards are required and casts are permitted at the discretion of the tournament director.