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Thread: Rationale for the off sides rule in soccer

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Rationale for the off sides rule in soccer

    Can someone explain the rationale? I understand the need to have a off sides rule, but this rule seems to punish the offensive team....if the defense is out of position and too far up field, why should the attacking team suffer? Why not have the off side rule like in ice hockey where there are set lines where an offensive player cannot cross unless he has the ball with him or if the ball is already across the line. It would not depend on the position of the defense at all.

    This would be easier to judge as well, as there seems to be a lot of arbitrariness in the current rule.
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    The rule exists basically so attacking teams don't stand on the goal line. Players can't be offisde in their own half tho, so there is a cut off point as to how high teams can defend.

    There is an unfortunate (to my way of thinking) amount of subjectivity in the interpretation of the rule with refs having to decide if players in offside positions are active or passive tho. If players are deemed to not be interfering with play they can be considered "passive" and the goal would stand. As Bill Shankly (famous Scottish manager) once said, if a player isn't interfering with play, he bloody well should be. Before this interpretation was used the linesman would flag for any player in an offside position, which at least had the merit of consistency.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby View Post
    Before this interpretation was used the linesman would flag for any player in an offside position, which at least had the merit of consistency.
    I'm afraid you've been had by the media. This isn't true. If, for example, a striker went down in the penalty area and stayed down while the defence cleared, and his team's full-back then headed the ball back to the goalkeeper, that counts as offside without an "interfering with play" stipulation.

    In fact, the opposite is true. When the rules were first formulated, being offside was only a free kick if the player touched the ball before an opposing player did. So it was okay to be offside so long as the pass to you took a deflection. A bunch of the teams I played against at under-age level were convinced this was still the case for some reason.

    There was a change in the interpretation of the phrase fairly recently, allowing players to stand in an offside position so long as the ball didn't come in their direction (even if it was played to them subsequently in the same attack). I never agreed with this rule change, but that's all it is, and it comes into play much more rarely than you'd think it would.
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Well I just must've just imagined the Arsenal back four stepping up in unison with their arms raised when a ball was played over the top then. Seemed pretty vivid tho.


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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    If the rule was the way you say it was then they wouldn't have even needed to wait for a ball over the top. Anyone in the other team touching the ball while someone else in that team was in an offside position would have been enough to award a free kick.

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    If the rule was the way you say it was then they wouldn't have even needed to wait for a ball over the top. Anyone in the other team touching the ball while someone else in that team was in an offside position would have been enough to award a free kick.
    What are you talking about? The offside law used to be when a player was level or ahead of the last defender when the ball was played forward he was offside. Where have I suggested differently?

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    That didn't used to be the law though! You're not even close!

    Firstly, whether the ball is played forward or not has no bearing on whether a player is committing a foul by being offside. Never has, never will. Where on earth did you get that idea from?

    Secondly, even if the ball did have to be played forward, it's just a matter of a full-back dribbling up the touchline while a striker lumbers to his feet at the other end of the pitch before the ball goes to the other team. If you remember that happening regularly, then I'm happy to conclude that you did indeed imagine things.

    All that changed is the interpretation of the phrase "interfering with play, interfering with the opposition or gaining an advantage by being where they are". While it previously meant being in an offside position when the ball is lumped in your general direction, it's now been tightened significantly.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Furball's Avatar
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    The recent change to the offside rule is massively under-appreciated IMO.

    It helps attacking play massively because defences can no longer just play an offside trap to catch a player offside. This forces defenders to actually do some defending, like actually make an effort to intercept passes instead of just pushing out all the time.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Hmm, you may be right. The offside trap's heyday already seemed to have come and gone by the time the law was changed, though.

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    With Brumby on this one, pretty sure he's got the old offside nailed on. Which is unsurprising given who he supports.....
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    WTF. How can so many well-read football fans not even know the rules of the game?

    Either that or you're misunderstanding the argument. Probably the latter, actually. Never mind.

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    Hall of Fame Member Marcuss's Avatar
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    Not sure if Uppercut's being pedantic about the meaning of "played forward".

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcuss View Post
    Not sure if Uppercut's being pedantic about the meaning of "played forward".
    Kinda. It only comes into play very rarely, but it's an important distinction nonetheless. I can't pass the ball to an offside player simply by playing the ball at a slight backwards angle across the pitch.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Matteh's Avatar
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    Brumby's been talking about balls over the top, which quite obviously have to be played forward due to the nature of the direction the ball is kicked in correlation to the target into which the ball is hoped to be passed into for a player to run onto from an ideally onside position which can be combatted with a step up and an arm raised and an offside flag.

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