The Horlicks That Is The Current Offside Law


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. Dr Bob says:

    There are two basic problems with the offside rule – the ability for a lino to be able to see simultaneously the kicker and all players closer to goal who may be in an offside position; and the changes to the rule that have introduced layer upon layer of interpretation.

    The second is dealt with by going back to a simple ruling on the position of any player. The first is dealt with by abandoning the rule altogether. The game has changed so much since the rule was introduced, for example in terms of formations and player fitness – and surely a team choosing to leave a player upfield is part of their tactical decision-making (will they really stand a chance of success over 90 minutes or the course of a full season if, in effect, they play much of the game with 10 players?). If FIFA want to experiment with anything, let them experiment with this.

  2. Noshow says:

    The ability for linos to pick up deft passes has definitely diminished with the modern game, so much so they seem to now flag for everything rather than just something.

    What really irks is the decision that is made almost as an after thought because the lino doesn’t want to be seen to be getting it wrong.

    Perhaps the answer is to have the linos run the full length of the touch line and if both call offside it’s given. If not, play on.

    That would never work. I retract the statement.

  3. Peter says:

    @Noshow, I think the thing you say about lino’s flagging as an ‘afterthought’ actually relates to another directive or rule from someone stating that a linesman should only flag when it is certain a player is going for the ball i.e. when they’ve collected it. I might be wrong with that though.

  4. sunil says:


    On both goals you mention, shouldn’t an experienced goalkeeper focus on the ball only instead of worrying about an offside Netherlands player? Or just assume the linesman would screw it up anyway?

    Would an assistant to the assistant ref standing on the goal-line be of any help? His job would be to watch the ball, nothing else. Raises his hand when the attacking team takes possession. An extra signal to the linesman/ref for their offside decisions.

    Would be easier for a linesman running in the same direction – he’d be facing the goal anyway.

    Bonus: Mr. Assistant-Assistant-Ref could also see that round thing crossing the goal line…

    Noshow, maybe 4 linesmen?

  5. kruador says:

    A lad who travels to matches on the same bus as me is a referee for matches involving players younger than himself, and an assistant for his age-range and some higher. The assistants are apparently trained to flag if the player running on to the ball looks like he’s just onside – because the human eye isn’t fast enough to actually see the player offside, and in-line video stills indicate that players should have been flagged who weren’t. This will apply to the crowd as much as it does to the officials.

    I’m a software engineer. It’s commonly known that you can get away with any operation that takes up to 100 milliseconds, after the user clicks or presses a key (combination of keys) without the user noticing – it will appear, to the user, to have been instant. Footballers aren’t all Usain Bolt, but can probably manage 100 metres in 10 seconds. In 0.1 seconds they could have covered a metre of distance, more than enough to make the difference between just onside and just offside.

    You could argue that officials should play to the eye, not to the camera, but when they’re being judged on TV – and, let’s be honest, more people watch on TV than live in the stands – they have to make their calls appropriately.

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