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Football Rules – Offside

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The purpose of the offside rule

The purpose of the offside rule is the same in soccer as it is in hockey – to prevent “sorting” by a player camping in front of the other team’s goal. Without the offside rule, football would be a great game of ping-pong on the pitch, filled with long kicks and alternating mad scrambles from one end of the pitch to the other. By preventing any “offside” player from participating in the game, the rule places a premium on dribbling and passing, rather than long kicks. This promotes teamwork, which in turn encourages rapid passage from one side of the pitch to the other and compresses the action over a smaller area of ​​the pitch – typically around 30 or 40 yards in length. The end result is that all players stay closer to the action and everyone has a better chance of participating in the game.

The offside rule:

“Offside position”

A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the time the ball touches or is played by one of his teams, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by interfering with the game or interfering with an opponent. , or gain an advantage by being in this position.

Law 11 states that a player is in an “offside position” whenever “he is closer to his opponent’s goal than the ball and the penultimate opponent”, unless “he is in its own half of the playing field ”. More simply:

– No one is “offside” in their own half of the field.

– No one is “offside” even with or behind the ball.

– No one is “offside” even with or behind two or more opponents.

In addition, there are three major exceptions to the offside rule. Anyone who receives a ball directly from a throw-in, a corner kick or a goal kick cannot be “offside”. So if Sally receives the ball straight from her teammate’s throw-in, it doesn’t matter if she’s in an offside position. The fact that it was a throw-in means that the play was not offside. However, if she kicks the ball to Jane, who is even further away than Sally, Jane may be offside, as she received the ball from Sally, rather than the throw-in. The same goes for the shots. corner kicks and goal kicks. If the ball comes directly from the restart, the game cannot be offside; but once the first player receives the ball, the “offside” rule comes into play.

“Involved in Active Play”

Contrary to some misconceptions, it doesn’t violate the rules just because a player is in an offside position. The violation only occurs when an “offside” player is involved in the game. Thus, the referee – or the assistant referee on the sidelines – who allows play to continue even though everyone can see a well-behind player. – beyond the offside line is probably not missing anything. Rather, they apply the rule correctly, letting play continue until the player in the “offside position” becomes “offside” by getting involved in the game.

There are three – and only three – situations in which a person in an offside position is sanctioned for “offside”. All, however, require participation in play from an offside position – or, depending on the wording of the rule, to become “involved in active play” in one of three ways:

– Interfere with the game

– Interfere with an opponent, or

– Gain an advantage by being in an offside position.

The simplest example of “offside” occurs when an offside player receives a pass from a teammate. In this case, he is “directly interfering with the game” because he got the ball. Other examples of the same principle apply this same logic, but seek to spare players a few steps, or coaches and fans a few heart attacks. Thus, if one or more attackers are trapped offside and run to play the ball, the game will be “offside”. On the other hand, if an offside player withdraws from play – by pulling up, for example, to let an in-play teammate retrieve the ball – an alert referee will allow play to continue. And if the ball goes straight to the goalkeeper, officials usually let the players continue to play.

While it is not a fault to be in an offside position, a player who never touches the ball may still affect play so as to be penalized for being offside. The offside player who runs between an opponent and the ball, for example – or one who prevents the goalkeeper from a shot, or interferes with the keeper’s ability to jump or retrieve the ball – is breaking the out rule. -game by participating in the play. But this kind of participation does not come from touching the ball. Rather, it comes from interfering with an opponent’s chance to play the ball. In this case, once the assistant referee sees the participation, the appropriate response is to raise the flag. But, if the offside player stops, steps to the side, or makes it clear that he is withdrawing from currently active play, the alert official will simply allow play to continue.

Among the trickier things to spot – whether as a spectator or as an official – is the player exploiting an offside position to gain an unfair advantage. This does not mean, however, that the player “gains an advantage” by avoiding extra running on a hot day. Instead, it means the player is taking advantage of their positioning to exploit a lucky deflection, or defensive error. So if an offside player is standing to the side of the goal when his teammate shoots – but does not otherwise interfere with play or prevent the keeper from making the save – then he is not out. game … and the officials will score the goal. But if the ball bounces, whether from the keeper or the goal post, and the offside player hits the rebound at home – play is offside and the goal will not count, as the player now takes a advantage of the offside position.

“The moment the ball touches or is played by a teammate …”

The offside rule is the source of more controversy than any other rule in football. In part, this is because there are at least two critical moments of judgment in every offside, or final, appeal. The second, when to participate, is often easy to see: this is usually where the ball lands and the players play, and this is where everyone is watching. But the first “moment of truth” is usually far from everyone’s attention, for what determines “offside position” is the relative position of each player as the ball is struck.

Players touch the ball a lot during a soccer match, often in quick succession. And since football is a fluid game, in a good team every player is constantly on the move. This means that the first moment of judgment – determining whether any players are in an offside position – is constantly changing, and the relative position of players will often be very different from moment to moment. Still, officials need to keep straight, and have a heartbeat or less to take a mental snapshot of player positioning at a frozen point in time – the moment the ball is being played by a member of a team – in order to judge whether an offside member of that team subsequently moves to play the ball, interferes with an opponent, or gains an advantage from being offside. From an official’s perspective, the game is a never-ending series of those snapshots, as each new touch of the ball redetermines the offside line … and the official often has less than a heartbeat to make the decision.

The important thing to remember is that the timing of judging the “offside position” is different than the timing of judging the participation. And this is true regardless of the direction in which the players are moving. An offside player who comes back into play to receive the ball is still offside; to avoid the call, he cannot participate until another teammate has touched the ball or his opponents have succeeded in retrieving it. On the other hand, a player who is in play will stay in play, no matter how far you’ve traveled to retrieve it, and no matter where the other team’s players move in the meantime. So if Steve is in play when Tom throws the ball forward, it doesn’t matter if he’s twenty yards behind the defense when he gets the ball back. The game will be in play … because it was in play when his teammate passed the ball. And if Steve is onside … but Frank is offside … then an alert official will wait to see which of them moves after the ball – because if Frank steps out of play and lets Steve get it back, then the play can continue because there is no offside violation.

Football officials and offside

The offside rule has been a part of football for a long time, sparking arguments and controversy since its inception. But its objective is simple: to prevent “cherry-picking”. Since this is an important part of the game, the referees will apply the rule to the best of their ability. But when they order an offside – or let play continue, because they haven’t seen any infractions – they’re not doing it out of spite, or to hurt one team or another. Rather, they do it regardless of the team that hurts or benefits, simply because the rules require it.


Source by Jeffrey Caminsky

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