FIFA Makes Changes To Offside Rule

FIFA Makes Changes To Offside Rule

If you thought the managerial merry-go-round and potential big-money player arrivals made the new Premier League season interesting enough, there’s yet more intrigue afoot: FIFA have amended the offside rule!

The tweak by the governing body comes into effect on July 2nd and sees changes made to the precise wording of Law 11, and pertain to what a linesman (sorry, assistant referee) must consider when it comes to a player ‘interfering with an opponent’ or ‘gaining an advantage’.

Though the alterations are designed to cut out grey areas in the interpretation of the offside rule’s criteria, the Daily Mail reports that English refs are concerned that it will in fact lead to even more confusion among players and fans – and even more criticism aimed at officials.

The unclear wording of “clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movement or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent” has been modified to “clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movement or challenging an opponent for the ball.”

The change is designed to make clearer instances such as that in one of the Manchester derbies last season: James Milner’s goal was allowed to stand despite an offside Carlos Tevez wandering across goalkeeper David De Gea’s line of vision as the midfielder struck at goal.

The new rules also clarifies things on whether players are offside when the ball rebounds into their path via the woodwork or an opponent; it is now supposed to be completely clear that a deliberate save or deflection in that position means they are offside.

‘INTERFERING’ – OLD WORDING “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate. “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movement or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

INTERFERING – NEW WORDING “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate. “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movement or challenging an opponent for the ball.

GAINING AN ADVANTAGE – OLD WORDING “Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goal post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

GAINING AN ADVANTAGE – NEW WORDING “Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball… That rebounds or is deflected to him off the goal post, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position. That rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position. A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

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