soccer's offside rule

Soccer’s offside rule is seen by many outsiders as pretty darn confusing. Even some true blue soccer fans find it tough to sum it up simply.

So we’re going to try our best to break it down for you in as simple terms as we possibly can.

Soccer’s offside rule FAQs

There’s no question too big or small. We’re here to run through some of the most frequently asked questions about soccer’s offside rule so you can get your head around it once and for all.

When was soccer’s offside rule first introduced?

The first time a soccer game was played with the offside rule was in 1883, when it was introduced by the Football Association.

What’s the point of the offside rule?

The whole point of the offside rule is to stop players from the opposing teams hanging out around the goal looking for opportunities to score. Sure, the point of soccer is to score. But if there’s always someone right at your goal it takes the skill, strategy and suspense out of the game. Makes it all a little too easy.

What is soccer’s offside rule?

Soccer’s offside rule states that a player who’s actively participating in a move has to have two or more members of the opposing team between him and the opposing goal.

Has the offside rule changed?

Yes. In times gone by, the offside rule used to state that at least three players from the opposing team had to be between a player and the goal. But that’s been trimmed down to two.

Does the goalkeeper count as one of the opposing players in the offside rule?

Yes, the offside rule states that two players from the opposition have to be between an active player and the goal. One of those players can be, and usually is, the goalkeeper.

Is it sometimes okay to be offside?

Yes it is. Soccer’s offside rule only applies if a player is actively playing. That means if they’re involved in the play. So if they’re involved in a pass or interfering with the play in any way, they shouldn’t be offside.

If they’re not actively involved, however, they can be offside and it’s not breaking any rules.

It also doesn’t count as offside if a player is on their own half of the pitch. But as soon as they cross that line, the offside rule comes into effect again.

And when a player is doing a throw in, the offside rule also doesn’t apply to them.

Who decides if a player is offside?

There are two linesmen who are in charge of determining if a player is offside or not.

They have flags and they raise them when they spot that a player is offside.

To guard against human error, there’s also a Video Assistant Referee. This is essentially another linesman who watches on video to see if the officials on pitch are making the right call, or not.

What happens when a player gets caught violating the offside rule?

When a player is offside, the opposing team gets a free kick.

If a goal is scored during a play that’s deemed to be offside, then it no longer counts. If there’s dispute about that, you can call for a VAR re-check.

Where to make an offside bet?

Well now that you know all about the offside rule, you might be interested to know that you can make offside bets too!

Find out what sportsbook offers them, and answers to all your other burning offside bet questions, here.

Looking for somewhere to bet on soccer?

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