Perhaps one of the reasons football is so popular around the world is that fans and spectators can choose how they wish to ‘consume’ it.
You can take a deep dive into the tactical and statistical side of things, trying to uncover the story within the story that often defines the beautiful game.
Or you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacle of 22 people trying to kick a leather bag of wind into, or out of, the net.
Even when considering football at its most basic level, there can be some confusing terminology and acronyms that fans and punters might not be familiar with as they trawl match reports, league tables and betting markets.
So we thought we’d compile a list of some of the most common football acronyms that you might come across.
AET – After Extra Time
From the World Cup to the Champions League, knockout phase football needs a way to separate two teams if they are locked in a stalemate at the end of the regulation 90 minutes.
And so extra time and/or a penalty shootout can be used to determine a winner. Where you see AET on a match report, it means that the contest when the full distance, i.e. the final score is after extra time.
AGG – Aggregate
Cup games and knockout contests played over two legs are decided by the aggregate score of the teams involved, e.g. if Liverpool beat Arsenal 2-1 in the first leg, and the second leg is a 1-1 draw, then Liverpool win 3-2 on aggregate.
AGG is simply an acronym to display the aggregated final score.
AW – Away Win
A football league table is a row of columns that show how many games the teams have played, how many games they have won/drawn/lost, how many points they have and so on.
Some extended league tables have columns that separate home form and away form, and so AW showcases the number of away wins, AD is away draws and AL is away losses.
CK – Corner Kick
When stats sites display the data they have, they generally use acronyms at the top of each column to make things look neater.
So when you see CK in a stat table, that means the number of corner kicks either for or against a team.
DFK – Direct Free Kick
There’s two types of free kick in football: a direct free kick, which can be scored from, and indirect free kicks, which need a touch from any other player other than the taker to be a legal goal.
DFK is the acronym for direct free kick.
ET – Extra Time
If AET is after extra time, then you’ve probably figured out that ET stands for extra time already!
FFP – Financial Fair Play
You’ll hear a lot more about ‘FFP’ in the years ahead, it’s fair to say. This acronym represents Financial Fair Play, the set of rules governing how much a club can spend on new players relative to their annual revenue. Breaches of FFP can lead to fines, points deductions and, in the case of Chelsea in 2019/20, a ban on signing new players.
FK – Free Kick
Whenever you see the acronym ‘FK’ on a live score app or stat site, it simply means free kick.
FT – Full Time
FT is the acronym for full time, which is when the whistle is blown to signal the end of the game. Full time can be after the regulation 90 minutes or AET – after extra time.
GA – Goals Against
It’s back to the football league table we go. GA stands for goals against, and this reveals the total number of goals a team has conceded.
GD – Goal Difference
GD is goal difference, which is the number (positive or negative) that’s left when goals against is subtracted from goals for.
GF – Goals For
The third of our triumvirate is goals for, often abbreviated to GF. This is the total number of goals a team has scored over the duration of the competition.
GK – Goal Kick
Some stats sites and live score apps shorten the humble goal kick to GK. Note too that GK is a more colloquial acronym for goalkeeper.
GP – Games Played
The first column of the league table is usually GP – games played, or MP – matches played.
HT – Half Time
A common shortening of half time is HT, and you will often see this on live score and betting apps to signal a game is at its interval.
HW – Home Win
See ‘AW – Away Win’ above.
IFK – Indirect Free Kick
Any free kick that cannot be scored directly from, such as a pass-back that is handled by the goalkeeper, is an indirect free kick, which can be abbreviated to IFK.
KO – Kick Off
No, not a knockout punch. KO in a football context is kick off, so when you see ‘3pm KO’ you know that’s the time the game will get underway.
MOM – Man of the Match
Whether for betting purposes, your fantasy team or personal interest, the Man of the Match award can be of significance. You will often see this abbreviated to MOM in match reports.
MP – Matches Played
See ‘GP – Games Played’ above.
OG – Own Goal
When you see ‘OG’ next to a player’s name on a scoresheet, it’s not a typo – it means they’ve scored an own goal.
SOG – Shots on Goal
These days you can bet on team/player shots, so understanding the difference between SOG (Shots on Goal) and SOT (Shots on Target) is key. An SOG can be a shot that ends up anywhere, whereas an SOT must be heading for goal prior to being blocked by a defender or goalkeeper (a goal is usually classed as an SOT).
SOT – Shots on Target
See ‘SOG – Shots on Goal’ above.
TI – Throw In
The abbreviation TI refers to the throw in count of a particular game.
VAR – Video Assistant Referee
It’s probably best not to dwell on the effectiveness of VAR here, but needless to say that the acronym refers to the Video Assistant Referee, who adjudicates on whether goals should stand, penalties/offsides should be given etc in many elite leagues and cups.
W/O – Walkover
There’s two meanings of the acronym W/O, but happily they both mean the same thing. A walkover or ‘win over’ reveals when a team has won a game without it being played. An example is when Russian clubs were ejected from UEFA competitions due to the conflict in Ukraine. Their opponents were given a W/O.
XG – Expected Goals
Expected Goals is a stat that has been around for a few years now. It essentially measures the quality of chances created, and their likelihood of ending in a goal (based on the historical data of similar chances). Expected Goals is usually shortened to xG or XG.