I know the offside rule in football, but how did the current ruling come about? Along history, there have been numerous modifications to this particular rule.

  • @gbianchi Borderline...but I read the question as "What is the reason behind today's offside rule and its transformation over time?" vs. "Why introduce and keep offside if it creates controversy?" I think both are legitimate questions, but is the scope being covered the same?
    – user527
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 14:15
  • Sorry, I read actually the same question.. maybe a better rephrase could fix this?
    – gbianchi
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 22:47
  • @gbianchi how could this be better rephrased? it's clear that the community thinks this is a possible duplicate, as you state.
    – user527
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 14:12
  • guys, I did mean today's offside rules, to the point of how have they changed over the course of the game's history, and the reasons behind the changes. Commented May 22, 2013 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


What were the reason behind the current offsides rules in football (soccer)?

To reduce confusion(1) for officials, players, and fans. As a result, the International Football Association Board have now stated when attackers have influence during play.

The change states that an attacker should be considered offside when "gaining an advantage by being in that position'' in situations that will now include receiving the ball from a rebound or deflection from the goal frame or a player in the defending team attempting a tackle, block or save.

Also why have they been changed throughout its history?

This Wikipedia entry and this article covers the history of offside in football (soccer).

Several reasons include:

  • Freeing up game flow
  • Reducing confusion
  • Reducing uncertainty of calls

    If an assistant referee is not totally sure about an offside offence the flag should not be raised (i.e. in case of doubt benefit must be given to the attacking team).

  • Ensuring correct judgment

    an assistant referee should not raise the flag before considering the following criteria, so called "wait and see" technique:

    • Movement of the ball (direction, speed, distance, any deflection, etc.)

    • Involvement of the player in active play by interfering with play...an opponent or gaining an advantage.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.