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‘New’ offside rule

Sports Section

By CHRIS DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-13-Aug-2009

EZULWINI – If the on going FIFA Premier League Referees’ Course is anything to go by, then teams and their supporters will be shocked to learn that a goal can be scored from an obvious offside position and still count

As the course got underway, even the referees and their assistants were no longer sure if they knew and understood the rules of the game as a session about the offside rule got them confused. It was gathered that a player can always score from an offside position, which even a helicopter pilot can see from his flight.

It continues to say if the player leaves the pitch deliberately while the play progresses, he must be cautioned when the ball is out of play. This rule effectively means a defender who may somehow slide out of the pitch or just leave through injury or any other reason is very much the last man in defence despite him being out of bounds. The striker who receives the ball unmarked is played on by the defender who went out of the pitch hence there will be no flag from the assistant referee and consequently no whistle from the referee. An example of this happening at a recent game was also shown to the referees and the goal was allowed.

The defender had a slight collision with the attacking player and rolled out of the pitch only for the ball, which was temporarily cleared, to find its way back to the striker who received it and scored completely unmarked as his marker was outside the pitch. “You don’t leave the pitch hoping the referee will call the unmarked player offside because at that time, you didn’t get permission from the referee,” Felix explained.

This left the referees stunned such that some agreed with it while some did not, a few remained confused but at the end, the law was well explained and the referees were satisfied. This is set to spark a debate from fans who may not believe that the goal counts from an offside position yet it is all in the laws of the game and applies internationally. This will also mean players who get injured or leave the pitch for whatever reason without the referee’s permission will be counted very much on the pitch until the ball goes out of play


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