Blog,  Laws Of The Game

The future of the Law 11: modernising offside rules

Screenshot of SkySports tv: offside situation at Dortmund - Malaga.
Screenshot of SkySports tv: offside situation at Dortmund – Malaga.
Dortmund created a very exciting end of their Champions League match this week against CF Malaga with two goals in extra. From behind my tv screen I really enjoyed the atmosphere, but must admit: the last goal was scored by a player in offside position.

And it was not the first one that match. Eliseu put the 2-1 for Malaga on the scoreboard from an offside position. Okay, both teams scored once that way, so they’re equal.

Check out the video with highlights of the match between Dortmund and Malaga:

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan surprised me on Scottish TV. Not because of his support for referee Thomson – can’t judge his full performance because I tuned in far in the second half – but he lets down the assistant referees and doesn’t mention that the match officials work as a team. Read full interview with Regan on

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But there are lot of matches decided by wrong offside calls. Research by Peter Catteeuw and Fifa and Uefa referee trainer/instructor Werner Helsen showed that during 2002 and 2006 World Cup matches assistant referees made many mistakes. In Korea and Japan (2002) linesmen made 1 mistake in 4 offside calls. That has been improved in Germany, but still in 10 percent of the offside situations, the call was wrong.

I know assistant refereeing is not easy. If you’re not sure about that, give flagging for offside a try with this test. These recent “goals” made me think about modernising “Law 11 – Offside”.

In the next blogs on I’ll discuss the following subjects:

  • history of modernising the offside rule
  • no longer offside in field hockey
  • modern technology and offside

And what do you think of the future of the offside rule? Get rid off it, use technology, keep things as they are or modernise it in another way? Answer the offside poll on Dutch Referee Blog’s Facebook Page or comment below.


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