One aspect of football that really annoys fans is the rule for when a player is offside. It was always open to many forms of interpretation, so two years ago the sports governing body amended the rule, to try and make it easier to understand. The truth was, it had the opposite affect, with match officials even getting it wrong on occasions.
Now they have simplified the rule to a degree that they say would make it almost idiot proof. Their statement reads as follows :
The Football Association have just announced proposals for changes to some of the Laws of Football by simplifying them. The main change comes in Law 9 - offside, particularly sections 2 and 3.
The new simplified wording -if the proposals are ratified - will be "A forward player having originally been adjudged to be in a theoretical 'offside' position as seen by the referee's assistant, but who retreats still in his opponent's half such that his furthest bodily part is not less than level with the nearest opponent, except from a throw-in, shall not, if he should advance commensurate in all aspects with his nearest opponent and the whole of the ball is in play, be deemed to be overtly 'offside', assuming at least one other opponent is currently between him and the goal line, once the ball has been kicked or headed forward by a fellow team-member who is actively engaged in attempting to control the ball, or propelled back towards their own goal by an opponent - except in the case of a free kick taken by the goal-keeper outside the penalty area.
In an evening match this rule will cease to apply in the event of floodlight failure, when the previous laws shall subtend. Any perceived infringement of the law in the first half shall henceforth result in an indirect forward free-kick from where the infringement occurred in the defendants' half without subsequent prejudice. For under 16 year olds the law shall apply in its entirety except for goal-keepers."
It is hoped this change will greatly improve understanding of this controversial law, and will consequently help towards the smooth running of the game.
It will apply only in home matches in the first instance, or away games played after 7pm on a Bank Holiday.