What is an offside position

Football rule offside

Offside position

The offside position of a player does not in itself constitute an offense.

A player is in an offside position

  • if he is closer to the opponent's goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent.

A player is not in an offside position

  • in his own half of the field or
  • on the same level as the penultimate opponent or
  • on the same level as the last two opponents.

When is a player offside?

A player will only be penalized for being offside if, in the opinion of the referee or assistant referee, he is actively participating in the game at the time the ball is touched or played by a teammate

  • intervenes in the game, or
  • affects an opponent, or
  • takes advantage of his position.

When is a player not offside?

There is no offside if a player receives the ball directly after

  • a kick,
  • a throw-in,
  • a corner kick.

Offenses / sanctions for offside

If the referee decides on offside, the opposing team receives an indirect free kick at the point where the player actively intervened and thus where the player was offside.

Definitions for offside

“Closer to the opposing goal line” means that the player's head, torso or feet are closer to the opposing goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent. The arms are not one of them.

“Intervene in play” means that the player touches or plays a ball that was last touched or played by a teammate.

"Influence an opponent" means that the player prevents an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly blocking the opponent's view or attacking the opponent in order to be able to play the ball. In addition, a player in the offside position must also be punished if:

  • he is clearly trying to play a ball near him and that action affects or affects an opponent
  • he is taking an obvious action that affects an opponent's ability to play the ball.

Decision in an offside position

If the referee decides offside, the game continues with an indirect free kick for the opposing team at the point where the player was at the time of the last pass from his team-mate.

If an attacking player stands uninvolved between the goal posts in the goal of a hit, the hit counts. However, if the attacking player disturbs an opponent, the hit does not count.

Defender leaves the field to sideline a striker

A defender cannot offside an opponent by leaving the field of play over the goal line. Any defending player who leaves the field of play for any reason without the referee's permission will be on his own goal line or sideline facing offside until the next stoppage of play. If the player intentionally leaves the field of play, he will be warned the next time the game is interrupted.

Striker leaves the field of play to avoid an offside position

If an offside player deliberately leaves the field of play to signal to the referee that he is not actively intervening in the game, this is not considered an offense. However, he may only re-enter the field of play if he does not gain an unfair advantage as a result. Should he return to the field too early, the player will be cautioned.

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