Keeping fans onside over rule changes due to come in to play.At its meeting on the 16th June the Technical Sub-Committee of the International FA Board (IFAB) considered new guidance relating to the way in which players who are in an offside position will be judged. Following additional consultation with the two technical panels IFAB have today issued a formal Guidance Note regarding offside interpretation.
This guidance specifically relates to the practical interpretation of ‘interfering with an opponent.’
It is important to note that the current interpretation of offside for Interfering with Play, Interfering with an Opponent, and Gaining Advantage from being in that position remain unchanged. Assistant referees will continue to apply the same principles in these cases as in previous seasons.
However, IFAB have introduced into the guidance two additional bullet points which attempt to provide greater clarity for the interpretation of ‘interfering with an opponent’, to ensure that there is greater uniformity in the application of Law 11.
In addition to the situations already outlined in the Laws of the Game, a player in an offside position shall also be penalised if he:
• clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent
• makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball
This represents a considerable change in the way in which assistant referees will judge ‘interfering with an opponent’ from the practice adopted last season. Previously a player would only be judged to be ‘interfering with an opponent’ if he either clearly obstructed the opponent’s line of vision, or challenged an opponent for the ball. The new guidance introduces the concepts of attempting to play the ball, impacting on an opponent or making an obvious action which impacts an opponent’s ability to play the ball.