The UK Rules
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Offside Rule

Soccer Offside Rule Explained

Gain advantage and stay onside with our simple explanation of soccer offside rules and guidelines.

FIFA FOOTBALL LAW 11 OFFSIDE: All will become clearer as we explain the fundamental rules and regulations below.

We stick to the basics of football’s offside rules.

This simple explanation works as good for soccer dummies as it would as an official entry in the rule book of soccer’s governing body - Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Offside is probably the most frustrating and talked about rule in soccer.

But the football offside trap can confuse and exasperate the most ardent of players, managers, and team fans UK-wide.

Player in Offside Position?

Consider this example. The recently changed offside 'active' ruling allows a player to be in an offside position and yet - not necessarily offside - at the same time. Attempting to promote attacking football, the new rule means that it is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.

A player in an offside position - nearer to the opponent’s goal line than both the second last opposing player and the ball - is penalized only if the ball is passed to him by a teammate or if the ball touches a teammate.

The referee and his assistant linesmen must make momentary decisions based on the players’ position and state of ‘active involvement’ in the game and the offside area.

Players in an offside position are also offside if the referee decides a player:

A player cannot be adjudged offside when:

FIFA Offside Offense Infringements

The referee awards an indirect free-kick for any offside offense and the opposing team takes the kick from the position on the field where the infringement occurred.

Offside Rule Purpose

After a full explanation of the basic principles of the soccer offside rule, you might be wondering what is the purpose and benefit behind soccer’s infamous trap regulation.

The rule mainly exists to banish goal hanging. Goal poaching is a system where a player hangs around the opposite goal area waiting for a long ball played directly to him creating an easy opportunity to score a goal.

Despite seeing many great goals scored being every fan’s favorite part of the game, the so-called ‘long ball game’ would ruin the skillful aspect and probably make it boring for the spectators.

Soccer Offside Rule Explained for Beginners