June 30, 2013

What's behind the amendments of Law 11

During the last weeks, the world's football governing body FIFA announced that the offside rule would be changing from 1st July 2013 targeting at the aim to simplify the definition of passive offside for the match officials, players and also supporters.


The press has widely managed to confuse football fans around the globe with wrong descriptions and analyses of those amendments, so that even UEFA referee committee member Herbert Fandel stated that "this medial hype was fully unnecessary". But how do these changes exactly look like? Those aspects which have been added or changed are written in bold letters.


Current version
New version effective from 1st July 2013

In the context of Law 11 – Offside, the following definitions apply:

(…)
·         “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate

·         “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent

·         “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position


In the context of Law 11 – Offside, the following definitions apply:

(…)
·         “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate

·         “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball


·         “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball

I) that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position

II) that rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.


Interpreting these amendments, one has to clarify that they are only changes "on the paper". In fact, nothing has really been altered, the definitions "interfering with an opponent" and "gaining an advantage by being in that position" have merely been specified. Following the old form of Law 11, the assistant referees had to assess whether an action by a defender who e.g. deflected the ball had been deliberate or not. This led to some confusion not only within the refereeing team. FIFA has now differed between "deliberate saves" by a defender (offside) and defenders who "deliberately play" the ball (e.g. a return pass, no offside here). Furthermore, FIFA's goal surely was to clarify what is meant by a deflection or rebound.

The following two videos can additionally function as explanations for the amendments I and II of the definition "gaining an advantage by being in that position".

video

In this UEFA Champions League match between Schalke 04 and Arsenal FC, Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud received a long pass by one of his team-mates which was "deflected" by Schalke defender Joel Matip having been in an offside position when the ball was played. Italian assistant referee Renato Faverani did not raise his flag though. Taking into account the new rule, it becomes clearer why. First it must be clear that Matip did not unintentionally deflect the ball by his header. He clearly went towards the ball with intention and thus deliberately played the ball: 'A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.' Additionally, Giroud did not press Matip, he did not challenge him. Assistant referees do not have to care about the question of whether Matip's action was successful or not, the intent to do so was deliberately made and this is what it is all about.
For this reason, it is no offside offense.

Same goes for the next example taken from 2010 World Cup 1/8 final match between Germany and England, where Uruguayan Mauricio Espinosa took a correct offside decision, as Rooney gained an advantage by being in that offside position despite a deflection of a defender. A totally correct decision under the old rule and but a wrong one taking into account the new instructions.


video


Rooney did not make pressure on the German defender and hence did not challenge him. The touch the German defender made with the ball was intentional, he therefore deliberately played the ball. Offside in 2010, no offside starting from 1st July.

A quite current and for sure the easiest example for what is meant by a rebound occurred at this month's Confederations Cup in the match between Italy and Brazil.


Assistant referee Bakhadyr Kochkarov unfortunately missed this offside position. Dante, having been in an offside position, got the ball from a deliberate save and a rebound off the goalkeeper. Thus, his passive offside position became clearly active.

Now an example for what is meant by "challenging a player". Jan-Hendrik Salver correctly raised his flag for offside in the World Cup 2010 match between Slovenia and England.

video

Slovenia's player #11, having been in an offside position (the deflection at the English wall is to be considered as undeliberate), challenged the English goalkeeper so that it became an active offside offence due to interfering with an opponent.

FIFA moreover attached several exemplary videos at their amendments of the Laws of the Game that can be found on José García Aranda's website.

All the videos posted here are only for educational and not for commercial purpose.

1 Comments:

  1. I am not sure if that is any clearer at all? Its not going to make it easy for kids football when the linesman is normally a parent.

    ReplyDelete

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