Laws of the Game

2020/21

2. Offside offence

A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched* by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or

  • interfering with an opponent by:

    • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or

    • challenging an opponent for the ball or

    • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or

    • making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

or

  • gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has:

    • rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar, match official or an opponent

    • been deliberately saved by any opponent

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage, unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent.

A ‘save’ is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).

In situations where:

  • a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball; if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent’s progress (e.g. blocks the opponent), the offence should be penalised under Law 12

  • a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence

  • an offence is committed against a player in an offside position who is already playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the offside offence is penalised as it has occurred before the foul challenge

*The first point of contact of the ‘play’ or ‘touch’ of the ball should be used