In recent seasons, players occupying off-side positions in a soccer match were penalized depending on whether they were thought to be actively involved in play or not.
Now, they will be punished if they clearly attempt to play a ball close to them when their actions have an impact on an opponent’s ability to play the ball.
“A player in an offside position shall be penalized if he: ‘Makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball,'” according to the latest of FIFA’s laws of the game.
Consequences Of The New Rule
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher thinks the new offside rule will be easier to understand both for the match officials and players.
“A player has got to make an obvious action and clearly impact on their opponent’s ability to clear the ball.”
Gallagher, who officiated for 15 long years in the EPL, explained the new rule in an interview with the Sky Sports.
“I actually think it will simplify it. When you see the season unfold on Saturday, you’ll think that it’s one thing on paper and another in practice.
“Don’t forget the managers and coaches have had referees visiting them throughout pre-season to go through clips and it won’t be a shock to them.
“When this was issued in the summer, referees took this into their games so hopefully they will be as up to speed as the players.”
One of the high-profile example of last season, Marcos Rojo, in an offside position inside the box, attempted to head the cross but missed. Nobody else made contact and Juan Mata’s ball went straight in, the goal standing. This was Manchester United vs Stoke City at Old Trafford.
Under the new rule, the above mentioned goal would be disallowed.
The new off-side rule will be implemented in the English Premier League this season, which is scheduled to kick off on August 8.
So, beware, strikers of all clubs…