The offside rule is between the last two players, which is usually the goalkeeper and a defender, so people just think that being in front of the last field player is not offside.

But in this case, the goalkeeper has gone out, so the defender in the middle of the goal is furthest back, and the next defender circled in red marks the offside line.

This would seem to indicate the attacking player in the near side of the field to the camera is in an offside position. Is that correct, and why or why not?

a screen capture of a match between Chelsea and Bournemouth while BOU are attacking, a CHE defender is circled red and an offside line is marked through them

  • 'last two players' is actually the goalkeeper and the next player in front
    – JMP
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 1:11
  • 5
    @JonMarkPerry, no the rules do not refer to the goalkeeper in this respect. And yes if the player on the line indicated receives the ball directly from a player on his team then it is offside. But if there is willful interference (the defender tries to intercept the ball) then there is no offside anymore. Commented May 16, 2018 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


You are correct in your reading of the laws. The offside line is at the second-to-last defender without regard to whether one of them is a goalkeeper or not. The player circled red is also where the offside line should be marked and judged.

At the moment of the screen capture, the attacking player on the far side by the goalpost is clearly in an offside position. If they play the ball or influence play, they also commit an offside offence.

However, it is unclear how close the attacking player on the near side, very close to the line, would be to an offside position. This is due to a combination of perspective and graphical inaccuracy and still capture eliminating knowledge of movement. Only someone flat with the circled defender would have sufficient perspective to make this decision.

For me personally, they appear to be not offside at this exact moment, but they may have moved enough to be made offside prior to the screen capture.

  • Yeah, it isn't the best angle to tell. Just to be contrary, I would say that the Bournemouth player's foot might be marginally beyond the second-last Chelsea defender's foot, but I think it's probably too close for the assistant referee to make a definitive offside call here (that is, if interference ended up occurring). Commented May 16, 2018 at 7:06
  • Hence the mention of the perspective, the line graphic, and the fact it's a single frame of footage.
    – Nij
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 8:13

I understand this interpretation and I quite agree that it's an offside considering the fact that the last Chelsea defender in the picture substitute for the goalkeeper on the goal line and there by should not be used to judge the offside line because usually, the goalkeeper is in most cases in his goalpost when offsides are called. So the offside line is judged by the second defender who is also behind the keeper.

  • This adds nothing to the existing answer.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Sep 5, 2020 at 15:29

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