beachesl Posted July 28, 2004 Share Posted July 28, 2004 Modify offside to make it simpler FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter FIFA FIFA.com (FIFA.com) 28 Jul 2004 By Joseph S. Blatter If there is a single topic that keeps coming back to haunt the football world, one that creates some of the most heated discussions, it is the offside rule. Euro 2004 and the current Asian Cup are only the latest major international tournaments where the issue has caused controversy. So what should be done? Before I offer an opinion of how the offside law should be modified let me briefly reiterate what the current rule stipulates. It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. However a player will be ruled offside if they are nearer to their opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. They cannot, however, be offside if they are in their own half of the field; level with the second last opponent or level with the last two opponents. And a player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved by: interfering with play; interfering with an opponent or gaining an advantage by being in that position. The key to understanding the offside rule lies in the one phrase which says that: "A player in an offside position is only penalised if ...in the opinion of the referee ..." Clearly, it is always easy to blame the referee especially if a decision has gone against your team. But it is no coincidence that the rule is most disliked by those who lose and most misunderstood by those experts who often take recourse in blaming errant refereeing. Whereas I consider any cries for the abolition of the offside rule as excessive I do accept that improvements are possible in order to make the understanding of the law more universal. Well-meaning pundits have often suggested that without an offside rule, the game would become faster and more attractive. They are wrong. Not only would such a move encourage lazy play with strikers goal-hanging but more importantly it would drain away the true intelligence of the game. The challenges of the game's tactical and strategic battles presented to team managers, coaches and players would quickly disappear, only to be replaced by a terribly boring kicking of the ball back and forth, without much sense or excitement. Rather the offside rule, as established from the very outset by the forefathers of the game, needs to be simplified in order to get more people to agree on one and the same thing. Thus, at the IFAB business meeting in October 2004 - which is composed of technical experts - the issue will be studied carefully, while taking into consideration the many different "schools of thought" on the subject. FIFA will then submit their recommendations to the IFAB in February of 2005 to discuss Law 11 with a view to simplifying it so as to make it easier to understand for one and all. At Euro 2004 Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal in the Netherlands 3-2 defeat to the Czech Republic provided a perfect example of the confusion over offside. Initially the Dutch striker was in a "passive" offside position the ball was on the opposite side of the pitch from him; he retreated quickly, only to run forward again to score what, in my opinion, was a perfectly good goal. The core point which I am advocating therefore, is this: the offside rule should only apply to the player who actually receives the ball. We should do away with phrases such as "active" and "passive" that punish scorers of magnificent goals who then have them disallowed because a team-mate was offside at the same time (even though that team-mate, never had a chance in hell of coming close to the ball). We need to do away with misunderstandings and endless discussions. Let us rejuvenate the game by making one of its most important laws easier to understand. http://www.fifa.com/en/history/index/0,1284,102303,00.html?articleid=102303 [?] Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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