What is the offside rule in football and what is the best way to explain it? – The sun

THE offside law is one of the most fundamental rules of football.

But sometimes, whether or not to fly an assistant referee’s flag can be the most controversial decision that can change the course of a club or a country.

    The assistant referee will raise his flag to alert the referee, players and supporters that a player is in an offside position

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The assistant referee will raise his flag to alert the referee, players and supporters that a player is in an offside positionPhoto credit: Getty Images

If you’ve always been confused by offsides, don’t worry, the law has become increasingly fuzzy and confusing in recent years.

The interpretation of the offside rule has changed over the decades to help the attacking team, but the essential part of the rule has never changed.

The offside law dates back to football rules established by English public schools in the 19th century.

So what is the offside law and how has it been enforced over the decades?

Here’s SunSport’s look at the rule and how it works.

    Karim Benzema was ruled offside in the 2022 Champions League final against Liverpool

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Karim Benzema was ruled offside in the 2022 Champions League final against LiverpoolPhoto credit: Getty
    West Brom's James Morrison and Liverpool's James Milner speak to the assistant referee as the goal is disallowed for offside

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West Brom’s James Morrison and Liverpool’s James Milner speak to the assistant referee as the goal is disallowed for offsidePhoto credit: Reuters
    Video Assistant Referee or VAR has changed the way offside is scored
Video Assistant Referee or VAR has changed the way offside is scored

What exactly is the offside rule?

The laws of football state that a player is offside when the ball is played forward to him in the opposing team’s half and there is no opposing player between him and the opposing goalkeeper during that sequence of play.

Being in an offside position is not in itself an offence. The moment the offside player plays or attempts to play the ball, he is considered ‘actively involved in the game’ and the offense occurs.

A player may also be flagged for offside if the ball is passed to him from his own half and the player is in the opponents’ half at the moment the ball is played.

What happens after an offside position?

Being offside on a football field is an offense but there is no penalty for an individual player if caught.

A player is tagged, but the only sanction is that the ball is given to your opponents to continue the game in the form of a free kick in their own half of the field.

A player can only be ruled in an offside position if he is in the opponent’s half when the ball is played forward.

    Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson clashed with officials after the flag was raised for offside

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Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson clashed with officials after the flag was raised for offsidePhoto credit: Getty Images

So when is a player on the pitch not offside?

A player cannot be considered offside if he receives the ball in his own half from a team-mate or an opposing player.

An attacking player cannot be declared offside if an opponent’s player deliberately passes the ball to him on the opposing team’s half of the field.

However, if the ball deflects off an opponent, the attacking player is deemed offside.

If a player is in the opponent’s half of the field and the ball is played backwards towards them, they are on their side and play should continue regardless of whether there are opposing players between them and the goalkeeper.

Regardless of position, it is not an offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in.

So has the offside law changed over the years?

The law was changed to adapt to changes in the game over time, to make it more fun and understandable for fans, and to give attacking players more opportunities to score goals.

Game lawmakers IFAB (International Football Association Board) adjusted the rule that a player is considered offside when he makes a clear attempt to play the ball, be close to the ball and influence the opponent or make an obvious action, to influence opponents.

In other words, if you are flagged for offside, you must remain calm and allow play to continue while you move back into an offside position.

And now that VAR is involved, offside is more obvious than it used to be.

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