What year did the IFAB change Law 11 whereas a deflection off a defender no longer put (or played) an attacker, standing in an offside position, onside?
This mis-application of Law 11 continues to this day and I want to know when the law was changed, for reference purposes as I will keep a copy of your response with me in order to enlighten those who continue “not to get it.”
USSF answer (April 16, 2008):
The change was made in the Laws of the Game for 1978-1979.
Prior to 1978, Law 11 read:
A player is offside if he is nearer his opponents’ goal line than the ball at the moment the ball is played unless:
(a) He is in his own half of the field of play,
(b) There are two of his opponents nearer to their own goal-line than he is.
(c) The ball last touched an opponent or was last played by him.
(d) He receives the ball direct from a goal kick, a corner kick, a throw-in, or when it was dropped by the referee.
Punishment: For an infringement of this Law, an indirect free kick shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred.
A player in the offside position shall not be penalized unless, in the opinion of the referee, he is interfering with the play or with an opponent, or is seeking to gain an advantage by being in an offside position.
As of 1978-1979, the Law read:
(1) A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than the ball, unless:
(a) he is in his own half of the field of play, or
(b) there are at least two of his opponents nearer to their own goal line than he is.
(2) A player shall only be declared offside and penalized for being in an off-side position if, at the moment the ball touches, or is played by, one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee
(a) interfering with play or with an opponent, or
(b) seeking to gain an advantage by being in that position.
(3) A player shall not be declared offside by the referee
(a) merely because of his being in an offside position, or
(b) if he receives the ball, direct, from a goal kick, a corner kick, a throw-in, or when it has been dropped by the referee.
(4) If a player is declared off-side, the referee shall award an indirect free kick, which shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. unless the offense is committed by a player in his opponents’ goal area, in which case, the free kick shall be taken from any point within that half of the goal area in which the offense occurred.
The following notes were supplied for proper interpretation of the changes in the Law:
The FIFA Referees’ Committee, in making this proposition, felt that the new wording is an improvement on the previous text. You will note that any reference to the ball last touching an opponent, or last being played by him, has been omitted from the new text.
The improvement brought about by the new wording clarifies the situation in that a player remains offside when the ball is played by a member of his own team even if the ball strikes an opponent in flight. The only factors determining whether a player is given offside are whether or not he is in an offside position at the moment the ball is touched or played by a member of his own team AND is seeking to gain an advantage or interfering with play by an opponent. The fact that the ball later strikes an opponent does not negate the original offside.
A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is touched or played by a member of his own team cannot be given offside if he is not, in the opinion of the referee, seeking to gain an advantage or interfering with play or an opponent, even though the ball might strike an opponent in flight.