Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32361

Other 4/11/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32356

I've said before that I'd be happy if the offside rule were stricken from the Laws. Our senior men's group plays with no offsides and the women's 7-a-side league that I ref has no offsides.

Both are more free-flowing - and have one less infraction to worry/argue about.

Field hockey (which flows much like soccer) has done away with the offside call. I don't know if basketball ever had it. Ice hockey has it, though once the puck has been brought into the zone, it can be passed in any direction and players can be wherever they want to be in the zone.

Until the day that FIFA removes offside from the book, perhaps they can at least do away with the silliness of getting called offside when you come back to a pass that puts the ball no closer to, or farther away from the opponents' goal.

Here's a short quote on lateral passes from gridiron football, that I think FIFA could learn from:

'In American football and Canadian football, a lateral pass or lateral (officially backward pass in American football and onside pass in Canadian football) occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line.'

Further: the fact that there is no offside on a goal kick or a throw-in shows that the Laws do allow an attacker to 'break' the Law in certain situations.

'Free the ball. Remove Law 11,' say I.

There has to be a question here, so: Your thoughts?

Thanks again for your continued efforts here.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I'd be interested in seeing it in 11-a-side. Just as an experiment.
But then again, perhaps it would lead to too many long balls in open play, which isn't overly tactical. Just hoof it over the defenders.
On the flip side, defenders may not push up to halfway like they do. It may be that the field becomes a lot less compressed than it is now.
Thus it would almost seem like there are fewer player son the field, because the players are occupying a wider space.
That's it, no offside and 13 vs 13!
(Because that's what we all need - another 2 players to control!).
Although if the game did become that 'long' with less of a build-up across the field we may need to adopt a 2-ref, 2-AR system....
Now's probably a good time to stop writing my answer!

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Offside in the modern game is now a dated concept. It's original introduction was to prevent players from not running or participating in play. We used to call it 'mooching' where a player stood at the attacking end waiting for the ball to come his way. The player made no effort to run or to assist in play until the ball came to him. Offside prevented that.
The modern game has no such challenges with in fact the complete opposite situation where players now double up at both teams be of the field to help the team. I can see merit in the desire to 'clear' the attacking third of players so I could easily see a situation where once the defending team pushes out that the attackers should be obliged to clear out of the area as well. I see no point though once play has already gone back into the attacking area that offside should apply. Case in point was the recently disallowed Sane goal for Manchester City in the CL. Sane was not 'off his side' in that he was within 5 yards of attacking team mates who were onside. Under Law 11 he was in a technical offside position yet that is not what the principle is behind the law.
So I could easily see the concept if offside applying on the push out by the defending team yet once the team retreats back in towards its goal offside should not apply.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32361
Read other Q & A regarding Other

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 32369

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.