Friday, January 8, 2016

Elleray's Proposed Offside Law Creates Inconsistency

I read today that former top flight referee, David Elleray, has rewritten the laws of the game with a view to making them more consistent.

Overall the changes he has made make sense to me, but I do have huge disagreement with him over his comments and proposed change regarding Law 11 (the Offside Law).

In particular I am referring to his statement that, “The law tells you to give the free kick in two different places.”

What utter nonsense.

The offence isn’t touching the ball. The offence is standing in an offside position when involved in play. Touching the ball is merely one of the criteria we use to determine whether the player was involved in play.

So in the case where a player is standing in an offside position, then runs 20 yards back into his own half and plays the ball, the place where the offense was committed was the spot where he was standing in an offside position in his opponent’s half, not the place where he actually touched the ball.

Elleray’s proposal completely changes this. Now the offence is touching the ball when previously being in an offside position. As he himself notes, this means a free-kick can now be given against a player when he is inside his own half, even though the existing Law 11 clearly states

It then very clearly goes on to say

This clarifies that the offence occurs at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, not a few seconds later after he has run 20 yards into his own half.

Therefore, there is NO inconsistency under the existing law, but this is not the case under Elleray's proposal.