We all know the offside law has come a long way in recent years and the issue of active and non active players can complicate a few decisions.
One of the toughest things to call is when a player who is offside is allowed to become active again and pursue the ball without being flagged, so this decision from Man City vs Aston Villa has everyone talking:
All eyes on Man City’s first goal…
Peter Walton discusses the Premier League’s decision process to allow tonight’s opener to stand ? pic.twitter.com/43bnWoLwLO
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 20, 2021
Rodri is quite clearly yards offside when the ball comes forward so there’s no discussion to be had about that, but there is a serious question mark about how long he needs to wait until he can take the ball away from the Villa defender.
Caughtoffside spoke to former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett to get his views on this decision, and he thinks the match officials got this one spot on:
“They made the correct call on the basis of the offside law. Rodri is in an offside position when the ball is played forward but he’s not committing any offence at that point.
“Mings then chests the ball down which allows Rodri to run back and challenge for the ball before winning it and passing the ball to Bernardo Silva to open the scoring in the 79th minute.
“An examination of the offside law states: 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.
“In this case they made the right call”
This is interesting to hear because most of the reaction has been based around the referees getting this horribly wrong, but it does suggest there’s a flaw in the offside law that needs to be looked at.
This does allow players to linger in an offside decision before applying pressure to an unaware defender, while the defending team could get over that by allowing the ball to run to the offside player but that also comes with its own risks.
This also demonstrates that the offside law isn’t completely black and white and there are quirks in the law that some understand more than others, so it will be interesting to see if this comes up again soon and if the same outcome is reached.