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Offside rule could be changed

last updated Wednesday 15th September 2004, 9:07 AM
The interpretation of the offside rule could be changed after Uefa agreed with the complaints of a number of the leading clubs that the law had become confusing. Andy Roxburgh, the technical director of European football’s governing body, is to raise the club concerns with Fifa, whose attempts last season at defining what is meant by interfering with play or gaining an advantage has only managed to muddy things further.

Arsène Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho are among the managers to have complained. “A lot of our colleagues are worried about the interpretation of passive offside being exploited,” Roxburgh said. “Teams are already working on strategies and coaches are adapting to the interpretation. The ruling needs to be tightened up, it caused chaos in England last season.”

Law 11 states that somebody in an offside position “is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: interfering with play; interfering with an opponent; gaining an advantage by being in that position”.

Some managers have also asked that the referee is given flexibility when a player fouls inside the penalty area. “They get a penalty, so you are giving them that goalscoring chance back,” Roxburgh said. “The referee should have the option of red or yellow.”

Uefa is to send a report to Fifa for consideration. No change can be made until the next meeting of the FA International Board in February.

Source Times
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