The laws of the game are determined by the (IFAB). The board was formed in 1886 after a meeting in of The Football Association, the , the , and the . , the international football body, was formed in Paris in 1904 and declared that they would adhere to Laws of the Game of the Football Association. The growing popularity of the international game led to the admittance of FIFA representatives to the in 1913. The board consists of four representatives from FIFA and one representative from each of the four British associations.
The most well-documented early European team was founded by activist in England in 1894. It was named the . Nettie Honeyball is quoted, "I founded the association late last year , with the fixed resolve of proving to the world that women are not the 'ornamental and useless' creatures men have pictured. I must confess, my convictions on all matters where the sexes are so widely divided are all on the side of , and I look forward to the time when ladies may sit in and have a voice in the direction of affairs, especially those which concern them most." Honeyball and those like her paved the way for women's football. However the women's game was frowned upon by the British football associations, and continued without their support. It has been suggested that this was motivated by a perceived threat to the 'masculinity' of the game.
Along with the general administration of the sport, football associations and competition organisers also enforce good conduct in wider aspects of the game, dealing with issues such as comments to the press, clubs' financial management, , and . Most competitions enforce mandatory suspensions for players who are sent off in a game. Some on-field incidents, if considered very serious (such as allegations of racial abuse), may result in competitions deciding to impose heavier sanctions than those normally associated with a red card. Some associations allow for appeals against player suspensions incurred on-field if clubs feel a referee was incorrect or unduly harsh.