There has been debate about the offside calls in the last 2 Barça matches, so I thought I’d let you has through some of it by quoting the Laws of the Game. You can find them here (PDF), with the below quoted text–Rule 11–appearing on Page 31:
It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
- he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
- he is in his own half of the ﬁeld of play or
- he is level with the second-last opponent or
- he is level with the last two opponents
A player 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 or
- interfering with an opponent or
- gaining an advantage by being in that position
I’ve often heard it said that the rule includes some sort of caveat about “playable” parts of the body, which are often considered just the feet, for some reason, despite the head and chest being perfectly “playable” body parts. Unless I’ve been doing this thing wrong the whole time and everyone is laughing at my “headers”. Anyway, FIFA released clarification for these rules in 2004, the last time they did so if I’m not mistaken (I might very well be). You can find it here.
The part that concerns our little discussion is from Slide 5:
Consideration should be given to any part of the head, body or feet of the attacker in relation to the second to last defender, the ball or the halfway line.
Given that, was Jordi Alba onside?
That comes from Marca by the way. To me it’s a very close but correct call by the linesman, given that Alba’s head looks like it’s beyond where Adriano’s back foot is. But it is so supremely close that it’s hard to argue either way thanks to the camera angle. I personally think it was offside–if just barely, but I’m partisan. And check out Alves’ onside against Athleti:
That one looks like a tie (which goes to the attacker), but it’s not the best angle, I’ll admit. And, again, I’m partisan. Either way, it was so close neither decision can really be attacked or defended, but I just wanted to point out hard damned hard these refs have it and how close those calls were. Alba looked clearly offside to me live, but when I saw the replay I was taken aback by just how close it was. I also thought Alves was offside live, for what it’s worth, but replays told a different story. Or so I think.