Offside is a very common situation in professional football. However, not everyone fully understands offside and the situations that lead to offside fouls. So, what is offside? How is the offside rule applied in 11-a-side professional football? Let’s find out and answer these questions together with Football Skills!
What is offside in football?
Offside is a foul frequently committed by football players when they receive the ball to attack in the opponent’s half and there are no two opponents (defenders) ahead of them (meaning they receive the ball behind the last line of the opponent’s defense, with only the opposing team’s goalkeeper in front of them).
The offside Rule in 11-a-side football
The offside rule is clearly stated in Rule 11 of the football regulations. To help you understand it better, ANZ Football will provide a detailed explanation.
Offside is a challenging foul to accurately penalize (as mistakes can happen). The offside position in football is when a player meets the following conditions:
- The player is in the opponent’s half of the field.
- There are fewer than two players of the player’s team between them and the opponent’s goal line.
- The player is actively involved in the play.
- The player is in the attacking direction towards the opponent’s goal.
In these conditions, the goalkeeper is considered the last opponent. A player will be considered offside if any part of their body is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the second-to-last opponent (the goalkeeper is considered the first opponent).
A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball is played or touched by a teammate, they actively participate in the play, such as:
- Involved in the play.
- Interfering with an opponent.
- Gaining an advantage from being in an offside position.
The decision of whether a player is offside or not depends on the situation, observation, and assistance of assistant referees, as it can be challenging for the main referees to make accurate offside calls.
To improve the accuracy of offside calls, modern football matches use VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology, which provides high-speed video angles to assist referees in making precise offside decisions in international matches.
Exceptions to offside
Players in an offside position are not penalized if they receive the ball directly from:
- A throw-in.
- A corner kick.
- A goal kick.
Offside free kick position
When a player commits an offside offense, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick at the place where the offside offense occurred. The offside free kick follows the following rules:
- All opposing players must be at least 9.15 meters away from the ball until it is in play unless they are standing on their goal line between the goalposts.
- The ball is considered in play once it is kicked and moves.
- An indirect free kick in the opponent’s penalty area must be taken on the line parallel to the goal line, at the nearest point to where the offside offense occurred.
- A goal is only counted if the ball has touched another player before entering the goal:
- If the indirect free kick results in a direct goal, the opposing team is awarded a goal kick.
- If the indirect free kick results in an own goal, the opposing team is awarded a corner kick.
The offside rule in 7-a-side football
7-a-side football, which is usually played on artificial turf, also has offside rules. The specific offside rules for 7-a-side football are established in Rule 11 of the 7-a-side football regulations issued by the Sports Committee. Here are the details:
- A player is in an offside position when they have moved beyond the 13-meter line of the opponent’s half and are closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball, except in the following cases: a. If two opponents are standing near the 13-meter line. b. When receiving the ball from an opponent’s deliberate pass. c. When receiving the ball directly from a free kick, corner kick, throw-in, or the referee’s drop ball.
- A player in an offside position may not be penalized. They will be penalized for an offside offense if, at the moment a teammate passes or controls the ball, the player, according to the referee’s judgment: a. Becomes involved in the play. b. Interferes with an opponent. c. Gains an advantage from being in an offside position.
- If a player commits an offside offense, the opposing team is awarded a direct free kick.
- The 13-meter line is determined by a straight line running across the width of the field, parallel to and equidistant from the goal line.
Breaking the offside trap
In professional football, teams often rely on the offside rule to organize their defensive line. The defensive line is trained to set offside traps to neutralize the attacking forwards of the opposing team.
On the other hand, attacking players are trained to break through offside traps set by the opposition. Breaking the offside trap is not easy, but there are various techniques to achieve this.
Describing the process of breaking the offside trap through writing alone is difficult. Therefore, you can refer to the following well-crafted and comprehensive video tutorials on how to break the offside trap.