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Now, this is apparently the one thing, us women have to clearly grasp before we can be deemed worthy of watching a football game as 'a lad'.
I really don't understand the need for this, because there's usually lots of flag waving by the linesman and opposing team players throwing their arms up and running towards the ref, quite a strong indication that something is wrong!
But, just in case, here's the Wikipedia definition: 'A player is in an offside position if he is in his opponents' half of the field and is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the next to last opponent.
The 2005 edition of the Laws of the Game included a new International Football Association Board decision that stated being "nearer to an opponent's goal line" meant that "any part of his head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent (the last opponent typically being the goalkeeper). The arms are not included in this definition." This is taken to mean that any part of the attacking player named in this decision has to be past the part of the second-last defender closest to his goal line (excluding the arms) and past the part of the ball closest to the defenders' goal line.
It is not necessary that the goalkeeper be one of the last two opponents. It should be noted that any attacker that is even with or behind the ball is not in an offside position and may never be sanctioned for an offside offense. Regardless of position, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick, corner kick, or throw-in.
IFAB has clarified in the 2009-2010 Laws of the Game that a player temporarily off the field of play is considered to be ON the boundary line at the point that he crossed over the boundary line.'
Ok?! Clear as mud?
Now, this is the way it was explained to me, and once I'd gotten over it involving my favourite subject (shoes) I can now understand 'the offside rule'. I've been told to point out that this is a basic definition and doesn't take into account that there is no offside if the player receives the ball direct from a goal kick, corner or throw in, blah, blah, blah…
'You're in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant (goalie) on the till is a pair of shoes (the goal) which you have seen and you really, really want!
The shopper in front of you (the defender) has also seen them. Both of you have forgotten your purses (the ball). It would be rude to push in front of the first woman if you haven't got your purse to pay for the shoes.
The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.
Your friend (team mate) is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees you. She prepares to throw you her purse (the ball).
If she does, you can catch the purse (not literally catch the ball), go round the other shopper and buy the shoes (score a goal)!
At a pinch she could throw the purse (ball) ahead of the other shopper (defender) and "whilst mid-air" you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes!
BUT, you must always remember that until the purse has "actually been thrown", it would be wrong for you to be in front of the other shopper and you would be OFFSIDE!'