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Fifa Defends Offside Rule As Confusion Reigns


02/12/2004. Fifa has defended the guidelines on the offside rule following a week dominated by controversy after a bizarre interpretation of the law by Bolton on Tuesday night.

A slight change in the guidelines last year now means that a player in an offside position is only penalised if directly interfering with play or gaining an advantage by being in that position.

Bolton responded by deploying a number of players in clearly offside positions as freekicks were taken in their 1-1 draw with Leicester this week. From one such incident Ian Walker scored a comical own goal.

However, despite having profited Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has called on Fifa to change the rules as it has caused confusion and he isn't alone in voicing his concerns on the issue.

However, a FIFA spokesman has insisted there is no misunderstanding from those involved within the game.

"There seems to be misunderstanding in the media, but not among those in the game," the spokesman told the BBC.

"Goals and attacking opponents were being cancelled out by players being offside but not interfering with play."

He added: "This is not a new rule, it is a clarification of the interpretation of a rule. Further details of the rule were given to ensure the laws of the game are respected, and to protect the attacking players."

Meanwhile, John Baker, the FA's head of refereeing, believes Bolton's behaviour wasn't in the spirit of the game.

"The decision by the board to address this was intended to be a positive measure and it was hoped it would be taken up positively, but that obviously is not the case," he said.

"We didn't anticipate this reaction from managers and players. It does appear to be against the spirit of the game. In the tactics at the Walkers Stadium last night, we have an example of players not being offside as the rule is working at the moment.

"But with the positions the two players took and the crowd's reaction to them, there is a case for saying that the keeper was distracted.

"If teams are acting outside of the spirit of the game it shows something cannot be right."
SAUK

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I wonder if some other teams will follow Bolton's example as it clearly gives an advantage in free kick situations.If they do then it might cause another change of offside rule.I would like to hear what people think about the moral aspect of this situation? Is it okay to follow Bolton's example and take advantage of passive offside rule in free-kick situations? Or is such a behavior against the concept of fair play?
 

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All a matter of fun interpretation and grey areas. The Bolton players were in no danger of interfering with the ball but they were clearly interfering with play, and as such the common sense ;) interpretation is that the flag is shown for offside since it is clearly a cynical exploitation of the rules.

To give an example would be the not nearly famous enough cancelled goal from Shev last year at Manchester where Rui Costa was not even in Buffon's line of sight, had no chance to touch the ball and was yet whistled for offside. That was possibly a draconian interpretation of the words of the laws, but where managers exploit and ruin the game, common sense dictate that the referee take a stricter stance of the laws.
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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I agree with the bloke in the article,it is against the spirit of the game,players doing what Bolton did should be automatically yellow carded ;)

the rule needs a refinement also,if the ball is going in their general direction,even if it doesn't get to them they should be called offside,like the RvN case,the players should make every effort to stay onside or else they also should be booked.
 

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It's pretty hypocritical of Sam Big Face to whine about a rule, then use it so blatantly.

But I don't see what the big deal is. A guy who's offside still isn't going to be able to score. The rules haven't really been changed at all, just altered to joke decisions can't be made to punish the attacking team. What Bolton did was obviously an attempt to gain an advantage, but you'd have to be an idiot to let an advantage get away from you there. The guys offside aren't going to touch the ball obviously, and in fact gives the defence less men to mark at set plays. So it seems to me it would be better to let forwards stand in the 6 yard box while you push your defence up to the 18 yard line.

Slightly off topic, I've always wondered what would happen if a team that conceded a free kick 25 yards out, instead of putting a wall up and marking forwards at the edge of the box, simply stood out of the way of the free kick taker and stood to the side of the takers, 10 yards at each side. Anyone who's tried knows it's infinitely harder to score a free kick if there is no one else around to block the keepers view, and anyone who moves past the defenders will be offside.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ViscaBarcaInter said:

But I don't see what the big deal is. A guy who's offside still isn't going to be able to score.
Well, it's useful to attacking team to have players behind the defence line in free kick situations as it gives them positional advantage in cases when a play continues after the free kick.Like then when a free kick hits the goalframe and bounces back to play or keeper parries it.
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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the Bolton player did actually kick it from the free-kick,he ran right back until the defenders went past,then curved his run back to goal again and got the first touch,THIS is offside,no matter what the directive says :fero: there was no two phases about it.

the refs and linos simply don't know what is interfering and what is not anymore.
 

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Do you really think it was an offside, Jern? I saw the game and I thought that move was very clever... and I didn't see that offside you mentioned at all. :undecide:

IMO it's not unethical or anything of the sort. The man is trying something new, what's wrong with that? The rules allow that situation.

For example, the rules also state that there is no offside from side-throws, but nobody's taken advantage of that yet. Someday, we'll see a striker completely alone in front of the opposing keeper, receiving a pass from a side-throw and scoring. All perfectly clean and by the book. If the defenders are too uninformed about the rules to stop that from happening, that's their problem.

If Leicester's defense was stupid enough to fall for it, then it's their own fault. I mean... they fell for it TWICE! The same move had been attempted by Bolton in that very match, it wasn't a surprise anymore. Why shouldn't Bolton take advantage of their opponents' stupidity?

We can argue whether the rules are good or not... but there's no lack of ethics whatsoever in what Bolton's manager did, in my opinion.
 

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it was offside yes,they were in offside positions when the ball was struck and IMO they were intefering with play because if they weren't they wouldn't have took up them positions in the first place,they are trying to make the defenders drop deeper so are definitely interfering,whether the ball reaches them is immaterial,and as it happens on one occasion it did.

one move they even ran right across Ian Walkers sight line.
:eek:

i think it is mean spirited in what was a rule designed to help the attacking team in the first place,i would book them all for taking the piss.:D
 

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Cachorro
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Jern Lizardhous said:
it was offside yes,they were in offside positions when the ball was struck and IMO they were intefering with play because if they weren't they wouldn't have took up them positions in the first place,they are trying to make the defenders drop deeper so are definitely interfering,whether the ball reaches them is immaterial,and as it happens on one occasion it did.
Y'know... that's a very good point, Jern. You just convinced me.

Bolton did it more than once, and that's what clinches it: The repetition of that rehearsed movement in set-pieces implies that those guys ARE beyond the offside line to interfere with the play... which should render them offside, by the rules! :dazed: You're right, the ref was wrong to allow it.
 

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However they can go in a position to make a defender moves deeper, that is not offside. But in the first move there was a clear offside. In the second I think they distract the keeper with that positioning. So it should be.
 

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i wish i could see what you guys are talking about in the game......cause it is VERY EASY to tell if the play is offsides or not...even with that rule
 
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