HomeSportsFootballOffside Rule in Football Explained | A Game Changing Rule!
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Offside Rule in Football Explained | A Game Changing Rule!

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The offside rule is one of the most important rules in football. Many matches have turned on its head due to this rule. In the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 between Qatar and Ecuador, Ecuador scored a goal in the third minute of the match but it was called offside by the referee and the goal was denied to them. The match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia also saw the offside rule change the outcome of the match. Argentina’s two goals were called offside which eventually cost them the match. 

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offside in football
Image Source: Quora

Offside Rule in Football & Its Origin

The offside rule was first introduced in 1883 by the Football Association (FA). It was introduced to stop the opposition players from standing near the opposition goal area.  Without the offside rule, long balls might be kicked directly toward teammates positioned in the opponent’s goal area and would prove to be too effective, eliminating the aspect of talent and strategy in football games.


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Offside Rule in Football Explained

According to the laws written by the Football Association, “A player is in an offside position if they are in the opposition’s half of the field and very close to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and second opponent.”

The law was revised again in 2005 by the Football Association. The new law stated that “In the definition of offside position, ‘nearer to his opponent’s goal line means that any part of their head, body or feet is nearer to their opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition”.

In 2017, the law was again rewritten as “The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.”

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When is the player considered to be Offside?

A player is considered to be offside under two conditions:

offside rule
Image Source: Premier League
  1. Any portion of the player’s head, body, or feet is in the half of the field occupied by the opposition (excluding the halfway line).
  2. The player’s head, body, or feet are all closer to the other team’s goal line than the ball and the opponent who comes in last.

Simply explained, the offside rule in soccer states that an attacking player must have at least two opponents, including the goalkeeper, between him and the opposition goal when receiving a ball while in the opposing half.


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Who Signals Offside in Football?

what is offside football
Image Source: IFAB

The linesmen, two referee assistants who watch the action from the sidelines in either half of the field, typically signal offsides. To indicate an offside violation, linesmen hold a flag above or in front of themselves.

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In the high-octane fast-moving game, it is very difficult for the linesman to signal the offside with the naked eye. Hence since 2016, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was introduced to second check the offside in case of a goal. 

Following every goal, VAR looks for any instances of offsides. The goal is canceled if a VAR recheck catches an offside violation that the linesman missed.

In the VAR technology, the video referee checks the linesman’s call using video technology and then validates his decision. VAR can overturn the decision made by the linesman and can award or withdraw the goal.


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What are the 3 exceptions where offsides will not be called?

The 3 exceptions are:
1. During a corner kick, goal kick, or throw-in, you can’t be offside.
2. You will not be called offside if the opposite team kicks the ball to you while you are in an offside position.
3. Even when you are in an offside position, but if you don’t participate in the play, you will not be called offside.

Do hands count in offside?

The hands and arms of all the players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered offside. To determine offside, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit. 

What is the golden rule in football?

If either of the teams score a goal during extra time, the game concludes immediately and the scoring team becomes the winner. The winning goal is called the “golden goal”.

How many laws are in football?

There are 17 laws in the game of football.

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