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Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, but also called Aussie rules, football or footy (and in some regions marketed as AFL after the Australian Football League), is a sport played between two teams of eighteen players on the field of either an Australian football ground, a modified cricket field, or a similarly sized sports venue. The main way to score points is by kicking the ball between the two tall goal posts. The team with the higher total score at the end of the match wins unless a draw is declared.
During general play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch a ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a free kick or mark is paid.
Australian football is a contact sport in which players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension for a certain number of matches, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. Frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring are the game's main attributes.
The game's origins can be traced to football matches played in Melbourne in 1858. Australian football became codified in May 1859 when the first laws were published by the Melbourne Football Club, making it the oldest of the world's major football codes.
Australian football has the highest spectator attendance of all sports in Australia. The sport is also played at amateur level in many countries and in several variations.
The pre-eminent competition is the Australian Football League (AFL), culminating in the annual AFL Grand Final, currently the highest attended club championship event in the world. The rules of Australian football are governed by the AFL Commission with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee.

- Source : MediaWiki

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