All You Need To Know About The Offside Rule In Football

March 29, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

Offside in football is a rule that restricts the ability of attacking players to be involved in active play when they are closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the second-last defender, except in certain situations. The law of offside is stated in the Rule No 11 of the IBAF laws of the game.

The offside rule is designed to prevent players from staying close to the opposing team’s goal and waiting for a long pass or cross, which could otherwise give them an unfair advantage.


The offside rule has been a fundamental part of football since its early days. The first offside rule was introduced in 1863 by the newly formed Football Association in England. Under this rule, a player was deemed offside if they were closer to the opponent’s goal than the ball when the ball was kicked. However, this rule proved to be impractical and led to disputes among players and officials.

In 1866, a new offside rule was introduced, which stated that a player was only offside if there were less than three opposition players between him and the goal. It was also known as the three player rule. Later in 1925 the modern two player rule for offside was given trial and the FA adopted it. The two player rule changed the way the game was played and the tactics of the game changed forever. Long balls gave way to short ball passing and the game started to get stretched along the lines to create more space.

In 1990 IFAB declared that if the attacker is on level with the last opposition player then the attacker is deemed onside.

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Offside Position

A player is offside if any part of his head, body and feet is in the opponent’s half or is closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the last defender and the ball. The hands of all players including the goalkeeper is not taken in consideration for determining offside.

Offside Offense 

A player is only considered offside if he or she is involved in active play. This means that the player must be interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position.

A player is not offside if they receive the ball directly from a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick.

A player is not offside if they are in their own half of the field.

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A player is not offside if they are level with the second-last defender, even if part of their body is closer to the opponent’s goal line.

If a player is offside, the referee will stop play and award a free kick to the opposing team from the spot where the player was when the ball was played to them.

The offside rule can be difficult to apply accurately, and  in modern times the referees often use video replays and other technology to assist them in making decisions which is known as  VAR(Video Assistant Referee).

Understanding the offside rule is essential for players and fans alike, as it can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match.