A game of football is often dictated by the decisions made on the field by officials who work as hard as the players to ensure a fair game of football. In many of the decisions that can be marginal, an offside call can be the most menacing as it is hard for the linesman to be precise in a fast moving game.
To reduce the burden on the officials and to make sure no controversial decisions arise, a new offside rule is in place for the 2015-16 season. There have been mixed reactions regarding the change in the rule and in this article, we will take a look at how the game can change due to the new rule.
The offside rule simply states that a player cannot take part in play if he is beyond the last defender and the ball when it is played. Though it sounds confusing, it is often clearly visible if a player is in an offside position and the linesman usually find it easy to make the call. But in high-intensity games and with players making runs all around the field, it is sometimes hard for the officials to pinpoint a player and rule him offside.
But the new rule this season has made it even simpler for the officials. This season, unlike the previous ones, if a player is in an offside position and attempts to play a ball, he is penalized even if he does not make contact with the ball. This rule will make sure that the officials can rule a player offside if he impacts the ability of an opponent to play the ball from an offside position.
Though it seems to be more confusing, in reality, it makes the work of the officials easier as they will not have to think twice before calling a player offside if he actively tries to play a ball from beyond the last defender. To point out how the rule will affect the game, here are two scenarios that will explain the change in the rule.
Scenario 1: Manchester United vs Stoke 02/12/14
United was awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty are on the right flank. Mata steps up to take the free-kick and send it in. At this point, Rojo was in an offside position but as the ball is played, Rojo attempts to head it but misses completely. However, the keeper was beaten without a touch as Mata and United were awarded the goal. But this season, the goal will be disallowed as Rojo clearly attempted to play the ball affecting the play of Stoke’s keeper.
Scenario 2: QPR vs Crystal Palace 28/12/14
James McArthur plays a ball up front to Yannick Bolasie who was in an offside position. Bolasie lets the ball run without making an attempt as Mauricio Isla took charge for QPR. However, Bolasie tries to close Isla down and makes him play the ball back to the keeper. Last season, Bolasie would not be called offside as he did not play the ball but this season, he will be penalized as he started off in an offside position when the ball was played.
The new rule has already created a bit of an argument if it is helpful after the Liverpool, Bournemouth game. Henderson played a ball in from the left flank as Coutinho was offside in the middle of the penalty area. He tries to a get a foot to it but misses it completely, but Benteke made a run from a legal position to get the last touch into the net. The goal stood but according to the new rule, it should not have.
The referees will often be under pressure throughout the season, but the new rule will make life easier as they can call an offside against any player in an illegal position if he remotely tries to affect the play. So the new rule is more of a remodeling of the old one and will only make Football easier to interpret.