New Brittish Coin Explains Football Offside Rule

Soccer Offside Rule Explained on 50-pence Piece

The coin (see above) gives a simple explanation of the offside rule via a diagram on the coin.

“I’m a sports journalist by trade and I saw this opportunity as a natural extension of what I do,”

“This design itself is just a case of lateral thinking.

“I’m a football fan, I followed the Premier League since its inception and if I had 50p for every time someone had asked me to explain the offside rule I’d be a very rich man.

“When the coin is in circulation I hope people like it and I hope people are able to use it to explain the offside rule.”

The Offside Rule in England Football

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent

A player is not in an offside position if:

  • he is in his own half of the field of play
  • he is level with the second last opponent
  • he is level with the last two opponents

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play
  • interfering with an opponent
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position

 There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • a goal kick
  • a throw-in
  • a corner kick

For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

If the player is in front of all of the defenders, leaving only the goalkeeper back – there are not enough players to play him onside. This position may have been forced by the defenders moving forward in what is called the offside trap.

If a defender has failed to move up the field with rest of his defence and played another player onside, it is a classic example of where the offside trap fails.

The offside rule exists to stop goal hanging, where a player stands next to the opposing teams goal keeper in the hope that someone can get the ball to him (probably using a long ball), so he can get it past the goal keeper.

In the rare event a goal keeper is out of the goal (e.g. last minute of F.A. Cup final on a corner kick) and can’t get back in time – but if the attacking team play the ball as they normally would, then it would be offside because the offside rule requires two defenders to be in front the attacker and the goal keeper usually counts as a defender.

If linesmen (assistant referees) call offside when it isn’t,  its not really their fault (unless the decision goes against you or your team), it’s all to do with angles and line of sight. In the linesman’s line of sight this line should be parallel with the goal line.

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