Definition of Football

Happy New Year to you all. I wish all the best in 2015.


On Christmas Day, I had a special dinner at an Australian pub. Foods were great. Then I who was there alone had a ‘company.’ It was a replay of an EPL match.


Once the replay was on, I started wondering what football meant. The sport is called football as well as soccer. Then we use the term of footy on AFL.


Having a close look at the screen, I saw how the sport was played. Players kick, pass or dribble a ball with their foot. And tackles are made by opponent players feet / foot. Addressing the sport with football makes sense.


How about AFL? Recently I have looked up an online English dictionary. But the definition of football is provided with soccer and American Football, but not about AFL. The Australian sport code is defined under Australian Rules [Football].


Thinking about how the sport is played, a ball is kicked towards goal posts for a goal or behind or to pass to a teammate. Even a ball can be also carried or handballed, using the term of football or footy makes sense.


Also players run a lot during the match. Then they have to be physically fit with foot.


Whilst lived in New Zealand, some people address rugby union as footy. Also my friend from NSW uses the term of footy on rugby (league and union). I guess it is because a ball can be kicked for a penalty kick or to move towards while scrumbled. But for me, it makes sense less than AFL or soccer.


When talking to a person from AFL dominated state, I say footy for AFL. Football can be for soccer in a such situation, but I may say soccer.


I use the term of football or footy for soccer to British people.


In a multi-nationality group where both Australian and British are, I am likely to say AFL and soccer to make it clear.


I think I need to be flexible to adopt and adjust the different culture.


Meanwhile I wish I can have a friend to watch a sport together and to share the interests. I think there is somewhere where my strengths, skills and talents can be used fully in profession and personal time. English skills are not needed so much here in Sapporo. I am very happy writing articles in English, but it is hard for me to share interests with surrounding people here. Moving to a city in the mainland of Japan where many western people visit is one of New Year resolutions for me.


Enjoy your footy in  2015.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Good one Yoshi. Its an issue I often contemplate myself, particularly when editing someone else’s writing. My one hard rule is that if someone calls a game “football’ then it is for them, and I never rename it.
    Your rules generally work, but Australia is such a multicultural and multi-code country that you are never sure what someone follows when you first meet them. I edited a piece from Vaughan Menlove and he had a defiantly capital “F”ootball label, which I daren’t touch.
    Logically soccer or association football has the best claim to the title, because it is played more internationally than any other code and it is more exclusively a ‘foot’ game than other codes. I often use the ‘world football’ or ‘world game’ label, because it conveys a clear message and is accepted and understood across the board.
    Hope you get to the big island (Honshu or Australia) in 2015, and find some footy nut mates to watch all sports with.

  2. G’day Peter,

    Thanks for your comment with warm compliment and wonderful thoughts.

    I agree with you that we won’t know what other people follow until we ask. Even I use the word of AFL to ask if people from Victoria, South Australia, WA and Tasmania follow the sport.

    It’s a complicated topic, but I enjoy watching different footy. AFL is the best and then world football (soccer) follows.

    Now I remember my old English workmates in New Zealand love world footy and we went to a pub to watch EPL matches. It was a good time.

    Thanks for your warm wishes Peter. Like a footy player, I must do the very best. No more next year for me.



  3. Peter Fuller says

    I think your post demonstrates that you have a sophisticated grasp of the subtlety involved in the definition of football, and the sensitivity that people may feel on the subject if some-one gets it “wrong”.
    I like Peter’s approach, that if one doesn’t feel too strongly about the issue, then it’s polite to accept the other person’s view. My only exception to this is my niece who is a committed “soccer is football” fan, so I tend to tease her a bit when we’re talking, texting or at Melbourne City matches.
    I feel your grief at not sharing the experience of footy with others in Sapporo, but you seem to have created relationships with so many people on the Almanac that you can imagine their reactions to games when you’re the solitary watcher. Certainly when you make it down here to Australia or to Wellington, that will be a very different experience.
    Congratulations on becoming such a regular and intelligent contributor to the website.

  4. G’day Peter,

    Thanks for your comment and compliment on my contributions to the Almanac site. Indeed it is great to share our passion of sports here.

    It is good to hear your thoughts addressing football in different codes. I reckon you can tease your niece because of trusts between you and her.

    What I meant is that it would be nice as well if I can talk about footy and other sports in person. I sometimes watched footy at an Australian pub here with my friend who goes for Essendon. But sadly he has gone back to Australia. It was great to talk about footy with him. I admit that it is hard to find common interests with locals who have never been to overseas. That is why I am seeking better life options in Honshu (the mainland of Japan) for a while where western tourists visit – I wish I can make a way to Australia or back to Wellington to live and work eventually.

    I wish you all the best in 2015.



  5. daniel flesch says

    It’s a can of worms bordering on a minefield this “what code is rightly called football ? ” thing. For mine , i’m jack of the arrogance of the soccer mob who claim the term “football” as theirs alone. They’ve managed to get the Sydney Morning Herald to call it “football” despite thriving Rugby Union , Rugby League and Aussie Rules competitions in NSW. Sure , in countries where there is just the one code played it’s fine to call the game “football’ . But how many countries does this cover ? Rugby Union is played in many “unlikely” countries like Romania Russia , , Argentina , Italy, U.S. , Canada and Yoshi’s Japan. Strikes me a bit odd Rugby League calls itself footy and Rugby Union often called just “Rugby ” but there ya go . That the American code is called “football” is just bizarre – it’s all throwing except for the occasional punt for which they have a player who does nothing else . …While i’m ranting , am also confused as to why Aussie Rules is now nearly always called “AFL” which is the administrative body , not the game itself. Nobody calls Rugby League “NRL” , or soccer “FFA “. ..Whatever .. as Luke Hodge said last September “It’s the best game in the world ” We Almanackers know that . Maybe when the Constitution finally gets around to recognising the original inhabitants and custodians of this island continent we will call the “Game of Our Own ” – “Marngrook” . And the people who insist on calling a game where you can attack the ball with your HEAD “football ” are welcome to their corrupted , nationalist hysteria – infected , diving , thrilling nil -all draw game. Whew !

  6. Peter Fuller says

    Since your prejudices match mine (although I’m perhaps less insistent on asserting them) you are obviously a man of fine mind and a cultured individual.
    I think the appellation AFL is a purely northern States’ phenomenon (perhaps just NSW). As I understand it, when the Swans became established in the Barassi-Eade period, it became a popular shorthand descriptive. The organisation, in its infancy under that title accepted the fudge, probably as a marketing ploy to make the biggest market familiar with the commercial title.
    I agree with you entirely, and love my memory of a window sticker which I saw on the back of a truck in the grounds of UNSW in 1973 “Be Australian, play Aussie Rules”. Perhaps we should revive that down in the Shire?

  7. G’day Daniel and Peter,

    Thanks for your comments and it is great to see your thoughts on the subject.

    Daniel – You have a great point of view. I agree with you about rugby and soccer, even if rugby is not a major sport here in Japan. Reading your comment makes me to take further research about the subject. Then I will add some notes.

    Peter – The sticker you mentioned us reminds me about what immigrants in the 1920s and 1930s have done even those from England. While I was taking research of Italian immigrants and footy for my article having been published previously, I learnt that it was better for immigrants to be Australianised to settle down in Australia. It included immigrants watched Australian Rules matches on weekends. I am surprised to hear that such reputation existed until the year I was born.



  8. When I made the previous post (responds to comments), I decided to take further research to find out which sport code was established or introduced first in Victoria where Australian Rules is dominated and in NSW / Queensland where rugby is played more.

    At first I have started with footy (Aussie Rules). The AFL website has a history section of the sport. It says that Tom Wills was one of founders of Australian Rules Football and had been a football captain of Rugby School in England as well as a brilliant cricketer before returning to Australia in 1857. He advocated the winter game of football to make cricketers keeping fit in the winter.

    Then I started wondering why Wills was called as a football captain at Rugby School. I typed “football captain rugby school” in Google and the Rugby School website hit. The English sport school website provides us history of rugby football. It is interesting and indeed I had a look.

    But the term of rugby football did not make sense.

    Then… I learnt that the game of rugby was played rather soccer in 1820. But players were allowed to catch the ball and kick it out of their hands.

    Now everything seems to make sense.

    For all readers, please take my apology for lack of research before writing the original article.

    Once again, thank you for all your comments.


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