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Offside Rule Information

The Offside Rule 

The offside rule is classically portrayed as the most complicated rule to understand in soccer, however with guidance it is fairly simple to understand. North Bay Youth Soccer uses the offside rule in U9's and above to build and understanding of the rule at and early age. The first thing to understand about the offside rule is that it is not a fixed line, as with other sports, and is dynamic and moves based on the position of the players on the field. 

The second important point in regards to the offside rule is that is is not an offence to be in an offside position. The player can be in an offside position without a foul being called against them, as long as they do not interfere with the ball and/or the opponents. 

1. The Offside Position 
A player is in an offside position if:
• any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
• any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent- it is the second to last opponent because the goalkeeper is included in the consideration of the offside rule.

Again it is not an offence to be in this position and only becomes an offence when the player interferes with the ball or opponents. 

As you can see from the diagram above. The red player in the blue teams penalty area is offside. This is because any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. 


2. Offside Offence 

It can become an offence to be in an offside position in certain situations. A player in an offside position (as in the diagram above) at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play.

The player in an offside position is deemed to have become involved in active play if they:
 • interfere with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate
 • interfere with an opponent by:
 • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
 • challenging an opponent for the ball or
 • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
• making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball
or if they:
• gain an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has:
 • rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent
• been deliberately saved by any opponent


In other words if the player in an offside position effects the game when the ball is played by their team-mate then they are considered to have committed an offence. Equally if the opponents make a save and/or the ball deflects of the goalposts whilst the player is in an offside position and they effect the game, they are also considered to have committed an offside offence. 

3. No Offence 

There is certain times during a game when the offside rule is not applicable and it is not an offence to be active in play whilst in an offside position. The times when being offside is not an offence are:

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

During these times a player can be in an offside position (as in the diagram) and be active in play without it being an offence.

4. What will the Referee call if a player has committed an offside offence? 

If a player has committed an offside offence then the referee will give a indirect free-kick to the opposition team. 

5. More Information 

For the exact offside rule according to the FIFA laws of the game please click on the attached PDF document. All the rules covered in this document are also explained in this useful YouTube video. Equally you can take this quiz to test you knowledge and understanding. 


  


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