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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FIFA - Football World Cup 2010 - What is Offside ??

Dear Sports Lover

The football mania is on and millions over the world are glued to the TV watching the premier tournament. The Football WC is perhaps the biggest sporting event next only to Olympics. The governing body is Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) The 2010 FIFA World Cup which is 19th WC – there would be more heat as the R16 would commence on June 26th. Already Uruguay, Korea Republic, Argentina and Mexico are assured of a place in that round. The others are sweating for the remaining 12 spots.

Unlike Cricket (the unofficial official game of India) played only by a handful of countries, more than 200 countries tried to break into this final event. This is the first time the tourney is hosted by an African nation – with South Africa edging out the other contending african nations of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.
The nuances of the game of cricket is easily understood ; football ofcourse has a set of rules. Elementary Dear, this is a game played using a single round ball between two teams of 11 players. The ball is spherical, made of leather, of circumference of note more than 70 cm (28 ins) and not less than 68 cam (27 ins); weighing note more than 450 g and not less than 410 g and has prescribed pressure level. The duration is two 45 minutes with a break of 15 minutes in between.

The other primary rule is that the players (other than the goal keepers) should not intentionally touch the ball with their hands or arms during the play (a throw-in is different) – use of head, body is allowed. Each side has 11 players and cannot go on with fewer than 7.
All keep running and the ball is kicked to go into the goal post – that is the goal, the striker rejoices in novel ways. A goal is scored when the ball passes over the goal line between the goal posts and under the cross bar. The team that scores more goals at the conclusion of the game is the winner. Simple and enjoyable action !!

In the last edition held in 2006 at Germany – Italy and France vied for the top honours – in the early stages with score 1-1, Luca Toni of Italy hit the bar – Italy ahead one screamed but there were some signs and one informed friend interpreted that the goal had been disallowed for offside.
Disallowed ! Offside !!! what – ball into the goal post is a goal – is that not the rule ??? The scores were even after the extra time and then there was penalty shoot out (!!) Italy won 5-3; Germany finished 3rd and Portugal 4th. That jolts your understanding of the game. FIFA publishes the laws of the game in English, French, Germany and Spanish. Here is some basic on the ‘offside’ which is an infringement and when the referee blows the whistle stopping the game.

Offside position : It is not an offense 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. However, the exemptions are – he will not be in offside position if:
• he is in his own half of the field of play or
• he is level with the second-last opponent or
• he is level with the last two opponents

Offside position becomes an offence and would be penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, the player is involved in active play by :
• interfering with play or
• interfering with an opponent or
• gaining an advantage by being in that position

As one understands, the game is about passing the ball from player to player, getting into the opponents’ area, beating all including the goalie and placing it inside the goal. By simpler imagination, there should always be a player near the goal area of the opponent so that a long pass is sent to him and he would try and sneak the ball in. This offense of offside maybe spotted by the Central or side line referees. The central referee would blow the whistle to stop the play or the sideline referee will signal by raising a red flag. The ball will be placed at the point of interaction and the opponent will get an indirect free kick from that position where offside is called.

This at times turns out to be controversial, especially because the referee has some freedom of interpretation. By another explanation, a player is in an offside position if he is in the other half of the field and closer to opponent goal line than both the ball and all but one of his opponent. It has three components :
1) player must be in the opposite half of the arena
2) player must be in front of the ball
3) there must be fewer than 2 opponents between him and goal line.

The goal keeper would always be counted as one player for these purposes. This rule is applied not at the moment the ball is received by a player but at the moment the ball is passed. Thus if a player in ‘on side’ position running unnoticed to receive the pass will not be off side.

Offside would not be an offence if a player receives the ball directly from:
• a goal kick
• a throw-in
• a corner kick

If you feel, you have understood something defenders sometimes resort to ‘offside trap’ – a strategy where defenders try to draw an offside penalty by running forward right before a potential pass, thus drawing furthest forward to the offender. This is fraught with potential danger, as the defender may not get ahead of the player before the pass is made. If they are at level, there will not be any offside.

Here are some graphic illustrations of offside offence :

-no offside as the player is after the ball
 offside as he has crossed the ball and closer to goal post

offside - only the goal keeper is before this player

 no off side as players are level

no offside when the player is in his own half.

With regards – Sampathkumar.

Thankfully acknowledge : (the official website for the graphics)

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