Offside Rule in Football Explained

On several occasions, you must have witnessed two or more football fans arguing about an offside ruling by the referee. So, when is a player is actually offside?

A player is offside if he or she wins the ball while nearer the goal than both the ball and the last player from the opponent’s team but not the goalkeeper.

However, the player is considered not in the offside despite being beyond the ball and the player if he:

  • wins the ball while on his own half
  • wins the ball from a goal kick
  • wins the ball form from a throw
  • wins the ball form from a corner kick

The player is also not in an offside position if he or she is in exact level with the last opponent. If it happens that a player wins the ball at this position, it is not considered an offence. Spectacular strikers know how to position themselves in exact level to confuse the defenders.

How is an offside position penalized?

The referee awards the opponent’s team an indirect free kick taken from the position where the player was caught offside. The offensive team does not align a wall for this form of a free-kick. Note that being offside is not a football offence and no card is flashed to the player caught offside.

Offside Trap

This is a technique used by the defenders to put the strikers of the opponent team in an offside position. They do this by slightly moving forward or by do not move when a player of the opponent’s team is about to pass to the striker. If they succeed, the striker easily finds himself or herself in an offside position.

In some occasion, the offside trap has turned tragic in two scenarios. First, if the referee mistakenly does not see the offside. The striker easily scores. Secondly, if one of the defenders does not realize the trap, he easily puts the striker onside.

Rare Offside Due to Goal Keeper Absence

On very rare occasion, the keeper might be out of the goal may be to clear the ball or assist in scoring. If the striker is behind the last defender but the goal is behind him that is considered an offside position.

This is so because the offside rule requires at least two defenders and the goalkeeper counts as one. However, should two defenders be in front of the striker, even when the goalkeeper is behind, that will constitute at least two defenders thus not considered as an offside.

A good example is in the last minute of the match when the keeper joins his team during a corner kick. If the other team counter-attacks and the keeper does not return to the goal, such offside is likely.

Next time you watch football with your friends you will educate them on the offside rules.



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