The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship

For many people, football is more than just a sport. It’s an affair of passion, loyalty, and community. The connection between teams and fans is more than your usual bond. The euphoria of triumph, the distraught of a loss. These feelings seem alien to people looking from the outside. To see fans become so attached to a sport renders them baffled.

However, those who know are acutely aware of the feeling. Thousands of people jump for joy when their team scores. This feeling of belonging to a community is a special one. Many people wish to have this feeling of belonging. However, they don’t know how to get into it. A major hurdle they face is understanding the rules of the game. Alas, there’s no rule more confusing than the soccer offside rule.

Soccer Offside Rule

The Association Football defines the soccer offside rule as such. You are offside when you are in the opponent's half and any part of your head, body, or legs is closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. Almost always, the goalkeeper is one of those players. Hence, if either the ball or a player falls between you and the goal line, you’ll be offside. However, if you’re level with the second-last player, you’re okay.

Yet, it’s also possible to be in an offside position and not cause any offense. That is a player knowing their error doesn’t interfere with the play. That’s why the referee refrains from blowing his whistle. On the other hand, being offside can cause offence for various reasons. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Offside Offence

Interference Of Play

  • The most commonly occurring instance is widespread and occurs every match. That occurs when you receive and play the ball. Whilst being in an offside position. An occurrence is called interference of play.
  • If you’re in an offside position already and the shot ricochets off the goal post. Then, any interference or contact with the ball leads to the flag being raised. Whether intentional or not, it’s called all the same.

Interference With Players

  • By preventing an opponent from playing. Or, being able to play the ball by obstructing his line of vision whilst being in an offside position.
  • Being in an offside position and challenging an opponent for the ball.
  • By clearly attempting to play the ball when this impacts an opponent.
  • By making an obvious action that impacts an opponent's ability to play the ball.

Instances Of Offside Being Acceptable

No violation occurs if you’re in an offside position and perform no action to interfere with play. Moreover, this extends to you making any attempts to gain an advantage by any means. Furthermore, there’s also no offense if an opponent plays the ball to you in an offside position. Additionally, receiving the ball directly from a goal kick, throw-in, or corner kick leads to no violation. Lastly, if you’re in your half, then you won’t be offside. Even if you’re standing further than any player on the pitch.

Result Of Being Offside

If it occurs, the defending team receives an indirect free-kick. It’s taken wherever the offside player plays the ball, interferes with play or an opponent, or gains an advantage. However, it's prudent to note it’s not a flagrant foul. As such players receive no bookings or disciplinary sanctions. Regardless of home, many times they commit this error.

Modern Technology

Traditionally, the linesmen implemented the soccer offside rule. However, over the years, many errors have occurred. Some in incredibly crucial matches. This includes both winning championships to avoiding relegation. That’s why, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has been introduced. Here a group of referees away from the pitch make these decisions. They use various cameras and technology to assist them. Thus, limiting the chances of any error. Ensuring a fair and free contest.


At the end of the day, there’s one conclusion to draw. That is the undeniable confusion the soccer offside rule causes. Let alone unfamiliar fans, even coaches and players face confusion by its implementation. With each year resulting in further amendments, the confusion is unlikely to cease. So, new fans need not worry. The beautiful game is free for anyone to play and watch.


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