Soccer offside rule changed to reduce confusion
Soccer’s rule-making body sought Saturday to clarify the sport’s
offside definition in a bid to reduce widespread uncertainty for
referees, players and fans.
In a change to take effect July 1, the International Football
Association Board has cleared up when exactly attackers are
The change states that an attacker should be considered offside
when ”gaining an advantage by being in that position” in
situations that will now include receiving the ball from a rebound
or deflection from the goal frame or a player in the defending team
attempting a tackle, block or save.
IFAB, which includes officials from FIFA and the four British
federations, also attempted to safeguard its future by opening up
its decision-making process.
With the organization of world soccer undergoing an overhaul
under the wake of a series of corruption scandals, there were calls
for the British to cede its influence on IFAB, which has been
meeting since 1886.
But at the annual IFAB meeting in Edinburgh, FIFA President Sepp
Blatter said ”this institution will go on.”
”I am sure it will not be a victim of the reform of FIFA,”
FIFA is looking to take greater control of IFAB by establishing
a new unit to run the body while stressing that the ”composition
will remain unchanged.”
The IFAB agreed to consult more by establishing a technical
panel including refereeing experts and a soccer panel with about 20
former players and coaches as well as current coaches.
”The IFAB has agreed that greater levels of consultation are
required to provide greater transparency and opportunities for
other associations and stakeholders to contribute with ideas and
initiatives to benefit the game,” Scottish Football Association
chief executive Stewart Regan said. ”This will need to be approved
by FIFA Congress in May.”
IFAB meetings previously had been divided by the issue of
goal-line technology, which was settled in the last year after FIFA
President Sepp Blatter ended his opposition to high-tech aids being
given to referees.
FIFA announced Friday that a fourth system had been licensed.
GoalControl-4D, which uses seven high-speed cameras aimed at each
goalmouth, joins another camera-based system, Hawk-Eye, and two
other projects – GoalRef and Cairos – which use magnetic field
technology to judge if the ball crossed the line.
FIFA has yet to disclose the price of the technology, but FIFA
General Secretary Jerome Valcke said the cheapest costs around
$100,000 to install in a stadium and maintain.
Valcke spoke after the IFAB approved having goal-line technology
decisions that are sent to referees’ watches also shown on stadium
video boards and television broadcasts.
The IFAB also decided that competition organizers can allow the
technology to be used in competitions, such as World Cup
qualifiers, even if not all countries have systems in place.
CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said Saturday that he hoped to
have goal-line technology in stadiums for the Gold Cup, which is
being held in the United States in July.
The IFAB delegates deferred two decisions.
Instead of approving trials of electronic chips in players’
shirts that could potentially warn of medical problems, a group of
experts will examine the benefits of such devices in the next year.
Electronic communication between players and staff is currently
IFAB also wants further consultation before deciding whether to
close a loophole on goals following uncontested dropped balls.
The rule change being considered would stop a goal being allowed
if one team expecting to receive the ball after an uncontested drop
has not touched it before their opponents scored.