Offsides - wha?
July 1, 2006 6:36 PM   Subscribe

FIFA-filter. The offside rule?

OK, I thought I had it for about two days. Although I think I get the purpose behind the offside rule, I'm still confused roughly half the time a World Cup ref calls it. Just what the heck is going on here?
posted by Gilbert to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Well, which half of time are you confused about?

Like most ref judgements, judging offside is an imperfect art. You need your eyes at two places at once - the timing of the player kicking the ball, and the position of hte player set to receive the ball relative to defending players. Sometimes they get it wrong.

First, for offside to be called, the player must be in an offside position - ie. with only one defender (usually the goalkeeper) between them and the goal.

Second, they have to be obtaining an advantage by being in that position - ie. about to receive the ball, or interfering with a player.

This is a fairly good explaination - read the detailed part.

The purpose of the rule, as I understand it, is to keep the game interesting. If there wasn't an offside rule, a bunch of strikers could just hang around the goal waiting for a long pass. With the offside rule, players are forced to work the ball down the field.
posted by Jimbob at 6:45 PM on July 1, 2006

The best explanation, as far as I'm concerned, is this.

The common misconception is that being offside is an offence. It's not. It's only an offence if that player's team has the ball AND the referree deems the offside player is interfering with play or an opponent or gains an advantage by being offside.

There's also the problem of linekeepers seeing things from odd angles that aren't really true.
posted by wackybrit at 6:45 PM on July 1, 2006

Another thing to remember is that the offsides rule is applicable anywhere on the field. If you pass it to someone beind the other team's next-to-last player while you're inside the penalty box, he's still offsides -- it's not like hockey, where you can position yourself anywhere in the offensive zone.
posted by danb at 7:54 PM on July 1, 2006

I'd been wondering about this. Can someone explain the difference between these two cases listed in the rules?

"he is level with the second last opponent"
"he is level with the last two opponents"

posted by intermod at 8:56 PM on July 1, 2006

intermod: Those two cases are just specifying that there doesn't have to be someone between him (the attacker) and the goal so long as there are two players level with him. You could rephrase the two sentences as 'there are two defenders level with or ahead of the attacking player'.
posted by jacalata at 9:03 PM on July 1, 2006

Remember that normally one of those two opponents is the goalkeeper, assuming that he is generally the closest to the goal.

So in most situations, to be able to "see" an offside for yourself you just have to look for where the last "normal" defender (i.e, in most cases you can assume the second is in nets) was when the ball was passed and where the attacker was. If the attacker is closer to the goal than the defender, then it's usually offside. Even or further away from the goal - when the pass was kicked - and it's not offside.
posted by mikel at 9:48 PM on July 1, 2006

In the Brazil-France game, I believe France's goal was from an offside position and shouldn't have counted.
posted by semmi at 11:47 PM on July 1, 2006

If you're talking about the slightly earlier goal by Henry, yes it was called offside. But he was onside for the Zidane free kick - the goal that counted.

In the first one, he was onside on the initial pass, but it bounced off a teammates head. At that point Henry was offside. So, that makes for a good example.
posted by vacapinta at 12:12 AM on July 2, 2006

Another thing to remember is that the offsides rule is applicable anywhere on the field.

Minor correction: You can't be offside in your own half.
posted by biffa at 2:53 AM on July 3, 2006

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