Monday, July 01, 2013

Offside rule change could cause chaos for new season

Premier League football next season could be thrown into chaos as a FIFA amendment to the offside rule has caused concerns among leading officials and could add to further confusion for fans.

The amendment, which has been brought in by the governing body and comes into effect from today sees a considerable change to the wording of Law 11 and alters what assistant referees must take into consideration when deciding whether a forward is ‘interfering with an opponent’ or ‘gaining an advantage’.

The law change, which was presented to officials at a conference named ‘Realising Your Potential’, omits the ambiguous wording of ‘obstructing the opponent’s line of movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent’. 

This part of the offside law, referring to what constitutes ‘interfering with an opponent’ had previously been left too open to the subjective interpretation of officials and has now been replaced by ‘challenging an opponent for the ball.’

Less uncertainty should be provided by the clarification of what the assistant referee must consider when judging whether a forward has ‘gained an advantage by being in an offside position’.

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