In soccer the rules and regulations are called "LAWS".
There are 17 Soccer Laws that govern the complete game.
Over the years there have been additions to the soccer laws in the form of addendums and interpretations. However the Laws remain the same.
One example of change is the pass back to the goalkeeper. When a player on the same team passes back to the goalkeeper, the keepers are NOT allowed to use their hands. This helps limit the use of the hands in the game as well as the over-use of the goalkeeper as an overly dominant player.
As in many sports, the interpretations change as the sport becomes more advanced.
An example is the obstruction rule. It is now possible to mark the space between the opposition and the ball before the ball goes out of play, provided that there is no contact from the player marking the space towards the incoming opponent. Prior to the 1980's this was called obstruction.
The objective in soccer is to "play the ball". This is why there is no "fore-checking" as in ice-hockey or "blocking-out" as in basketball.
I feel that these are important to note because it makes the game of soccer open to all body sizes.
This is where true skill takes over from brute force... yes, you have to play the ball and not the "man". The objective is to get around the opponent with physical and technical skills and not through them with brute force.
This makes the game, a game of endless possibilities as positions change on the field every second.
There are few stoppages during the length of the entire game as there might be in other sports. The game of soccer is supposed to be a free flowing game.
When an excess of fouls and stoppages occur, the game becomes very boring and rigid with technical and set plays. Some teams use set plays as an advantage to gain access to goals and scoring opportunities. This erodes the creativity of the players themselves and becomes a game of coaches' manipulation and technical expertise.
So for players and spectators alike, it is worth taking the time to learn the rules of the game.
For links to rules go to soccer rules, go to Soccer Laws Links.