What is offside?



As FIFA, a player is in an offside position if: 

  •  any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) 
  •  any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent


In other words, players are offside if they meet all of these conditions: 

  • The player is in the opponent’s half
  • There are fewer than two opponents between the player and the opponents’ goal line
  • The player involved in active play

The white shirt player is in the offside position


FIFA’s rules of offside

As FIFA, it is not an offence to be in an offside position.

A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by: 

  • Interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate  
  • Interfering with an opponent by: 
    • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision  
    • challenging an opponent for the ball  
    • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent 
    • making an obvious action which clearly impacts the ability of an opponent to play the ball 
  • Gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has: 
    • rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar, match official or an opponent 
    • been deliberately saved by any opponent


What will happen if an offside occurs?

If an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick where the offence occurred, including if it is in the player’s own half of the field of play.

Non-offside situations

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

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

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball is not considered to gain an offside offence.

Have you seen the cheeky assist of Ronaldinho against Sao Paulo? After lingering by drinking from the opposing goalkeeper’s water bottle, he received the ball from a throw-in in offside position, and then stroked the ball across the goal to leave Jo with the easiest of tap ins


Offside trap

An offside trap is a tactic employed by teams to win back the ball effortlessly. This trap basically involves placing the other team’s player in an offside position. To run a successful offside trap, the team must have fairly decent communication with another and be able to move as a unit and as one. It’s hard to pull off an offside trap because if the players make even one small mistake, they may accidentally place a striker from the opposing team onside.

(Empoli is the kings of this tactic, they were able to successfully pull off this achievement 160 times within just 30 games)


Beating offside trap

To beat the offside trap, the forwards have to understand the offside rule, learn to play backward and be able to hold their own in one-on-one situations. One of the most particular examples of beating the offside trap is Filippo Inzaghi. Super Pippo is poor at everything a football player must have: speed, strength, technique, stamina; he couldn’t dribble, he couldn’t shoot outside the box even though he is a striker. So how did he score many goals? All he has to do is just standing in the right position, without any defender is leveling with him, by beating the offside trap. 

Filippo Inzaghi

“That lad must have been born offside” – Sir Alex Ferguson on Filippo Inzaghi



Author: Kuyet @ TrophyRoom 


Image sources: 

Soccer Maniak:

Offside in Soccer stops the game, and turns over possession.

World Football:

Empoli FC » Squad 2020/2021

EADF – El Arte Del Futbol

Born Offside – Super Pippo and beating the offside trap

Daily Mail:

Ronaldinho sets up Atletico Mineiro goal despite appearing 20 yards offside position


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