What does off side mean in soccer ? The offside call is often as consequential a call as a foul inside the penalty box in a soccer match. It’s often the reason a goal gets overturned. Or two goals.
That was the case at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for Mexico forward Giovani dos Santos, who saw two goals overturned in the Mexican side’s opening match against Cameroon.
Mexico ultimately beat the Cameroonians 1-0 on a late goal, but a 3-0 result would have boosted their goal differential and perhaps changed the tournament dynamics.
Mexico narrowly finished second in its group on goal differential behind Brazil. The disallowed goals would’ve put them in a better spot to finish first heading into the final group stage game, potentially setting up a more favorable opponent in the round of 16 knockout stage.
Video replay showed dos Santos onside on both goal-scoring plays. FIFA pulled the sideline judge from working with that officiating crew at a subsequent match, The New York Times reported.
The offside rule has been a source of innumerable controversial calls in soccer, in large part because they were left completely to the whims of human error.
FIFA only began allowing World Cup officials the ability to review video replays to confirm calls in 2018. This year it’s rolling out a new semi-automated, offside technology to enhance its Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
What is offside in soccer?
A player is in an offside position if he (any part of the head, feet or body) is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the second to last defender and the ball – and he is in the opponent’s half of the field, according to Law 11 of FIFA’s Laws of the Game.
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An offside offense is committed when a player receives a pass from a teammate after having been in an offside position the moment his teammate touched the ball. The same rule applies if the ball makes its way to a player in an offside position from an unintentional deflection off of a defender.
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The referee awards an indirect freekick to the defending team when upon ruling offside.
It is not considered an offside offense if a player in an offside position intercepts an opponent’s deliberate pass.
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Why is there offside in soccer?
The rule was introduced in 1883 by the Football Association, the English governing body of the sport, to keep players from lurking by the opponent’s goal, according to the International Olympics Committee website.
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“Without the offside rule, long balls could be kicked directly towards team-mates placed in the opposition goal area and would prove to be too effective,” the site reads, “thereby reducing the element of skill and strategy in football games.”
What is the offside rule in soccer?
In simple terms, a player is offside if they are in the attacking half and closer to the opposing team’s goal-line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.
The opposing team will then receive an indirect free-kick should a player in an offside position come into contact with the ball or if they are deemed to become active in play while their team is in possession of the ball.
A player’s head, body and feet can all be caught in an offside position but the hands and arms of players aren’t counted. According to the Football Association (FA), “For the purposes of determining offside, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit.”
How referees still make the wrong offside decisions
While VAR technology was designed to avoid wrong calls being made, human error remains a part of the game and this applies to the offside rule.
Even with VAR, how referees interpret rules and view replays can see the wrong decision made.
Often, a lack of good replay angles also impacts a referee’s ability to make the right call when it comes to offside.
With the arrival of VAR, offside calls have now become even tighter with fans often unhappy when a goal is disallowed due to the finest of margins that previously would have gone unnoticed.
When did the offside rule start?
Offside has been part of the round ball game since its formal foundation with the FA making it one of its laws of the game in 1863.
The rule has been tweaked numerous times since then but the basics of it have remained much the same.
One key change to the offside rule came in 1990 when attacking players were now deemed onside if they were even with the second-last opposing player.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has proposed for the offside rule to be tweaked so that players are onside if any part of their body that they can score with is in-line with the second-last opposing player.
What is the point of the offside rule?
While at times confusing, the offside rule prevents teams from camping out in front of the goal and encourages more fluid play.
The offside rule forces teams to play smarter and has resulted in some great tactical battles.
A number of the best sides in the modern game often use an offside trap in the form a high defensive line to catch opposing teams offside when they’re attacking. While this can work to the defending side’s advantage, it can also leave them more exposed when attacking players manage to stay onside and break past the back line.
The offside rule might be frustrating for attackers, but it has undoubtedly given the game an extra layer of depth and kept the sport more balanced across the pitch.
So what is it to be offside?
Being in an offside position is not in and of itself a violation of the rules; nevertheless, the instant a player in an offside position plays the ball or tries to play the ball, they are considered to be “actively participating in play,” and this is when the violation of the rules takes place.
When the ball was kicked forward, the former regulation specified that attacking players were not allowed to stand in front of the ball.
However, throughout its history, the law has undergone several modifications and adjustments that have made the game more enjoyable and accessible to spectators while also expanding the number of scoring possibilities available to offensive players.
The rule that states a player is considered to be offside when they make a clear attempt to play the ball, be close to the ball and have an impact on the opponent, or create an obvious action to have an impact on the opponent, according to the last change by IFAB (International Football Association Board), which is the body that is responsible for making the rules of the game.
To put it another way, if you are offside, you must remain still and let the game continue while you move into a position where you are onside.
What exactly is the new semi-automatic offside technology?
On Tuesday, November 16, 2022, the first demonstration of a novel technology known as Semi-Automatic Offside Technology (SOAT) took place in the Champions League for the first time.
Roberto Rosetti, the chief officiating officer for UEFA, said that it would “improve the flow of the game and the consistency of the decisions,” and that it will continue as you go back into an onside position.
Offside calls may now be made in a more timely and precise manner thanks to the use of this new technology.
Multiple cameras are used to monitor not just the movement of the ball but also that of the players. The offside technology is being used at the World Cup in Qatar.
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