There was controversy in a game in the Premier League today where Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie was “played onside” when a through ball played by his Arsenal colleague Denilson was diverted to Van Persie by Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. The diversion of the ball, although slight, was from a deliberate attempt to play the ball by Cole.

Van Persie was in an offside position when the ball was played by Denilson (and for that matter when Cole touched the ball). The referee in this case ruled that Cole’s attempt to play and touching of the ball then played RVP onside.

Now as I’ve always understood it a player could not be offside from a pass made from an opposing player but in reading the offside rule nowhere do I see mention that the player who passes the ball must be on your own side.

So was Van Persie offside?

USSF answer (December 1, 2008):
In brief, yes, van Persie was offside. He was clearly in an offside position when the ball was played to him by Denilson and the deflection of the ball (if indeed it happened) would make no difference in the referee’s call.

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