Blog,  case study,  Laws Of The Game

New interpretation of offside rule

The season is about to start and I’ve not yet blogged about the new interpretation of offside rule. Here you have it. IFAB issued some additional guidance about Law 11 in a recent circular. The new interpretation of offside rule is basically a change in how to look at “interfering with an opponent”.

IFAB wrote: “In addition to the situations already outlined in the Laws of the Game, a player in an
offside position shall also be penalised if he:

  • clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an
  • OR makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to
    play the ball

The Premier League and PGMOL have made the figure below that might help you see the bigger picture.

PGMOL new offside interpretation.

Helpful definitions

Guidance definitions

“Clearly attempts”: this wording is designed to prevent a player in an offside position who runs towards the ball from quite a long distance being penalised (unless he gets close to the ball)

“Close”: is important so that a player in an offside position is not penalised when the ball goes clearly over his head or clearly in front of him

“Impacts”: applies to an opponent’s ability (or potential) to play the ball and will include situations where an opponent’s movement to play the ball is delayed, hindered or prevented by the offside player

As Mike Riley, PGMOL referee boss, summarizes it: “Previously when someone didn’t touch the ball but obviously impacted on another player, you couldn’t flag them,” he said in the Guardian. “The new guidance says if a player clearly attempts to play the ball, which is close to him and impacts on an opposing player, or if he makes an obvious action that impacts on an opposing player, that can now be penalised as offside.

Video examples

Scottish referee Steven McLean explains it with the help of some match situations. New interpretation of offside rule in video below:

What are your thoughts on the new offside rule?

PS: Have you seen the latest version of the Laws of the Game? Download you copy here.


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