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Offside

The Offside Law Explained - Animated. (Turn on your speakers.)

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • He/She is nearer to his/her opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. In the definition of offside position, 'nearer to his/her opponents' goal line' means that any part of his head, body or legs is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.  The arms are not included in this definition.

A player is not in an offside position if:

  • He/She is in his/her own half of the field of play
  • He/She is level with the second last opponent
  • He/She is level with the last two opponents

Committing an Offside Offence
A player is only penalized if he/she is in an offside position at the moment the ball is touched or played by one of his/her team; then he/she, in the opinion of the referee, gets involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play = playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate. A player
    can be considered playing the ball even without touching it if, in the opinion of the referee or assistant referee, that player is making an active play for the ball and is likely to touch it. If contact is likely, the offense (offside) can be called when the official makes that determination, even if there is no contact with the ball.
  • interfering with an opponent = preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements 
    -or- 
    making a gesture or movement which
    , in the opinion of the referee , deceives or distracts an opponent.
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position = playing a ball that rebounds to him off a 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.

No Offence
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • a goal kick
  • a throw-in
  • a corner kick

For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

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