In offside, the position of a player's body (rather than just a physical part of it e.g. foot) is used to determine the offence. In encroachment at a penalty kick, can a player that's leaning forward over the 18-yard line be used to determine the offence as it is in offside, or must it be physical i.e the foot.

1 Answer 1


Law 14.1 only specifies the location of other players as follows.

The players other than the kicker and goalkeeper must be:

  • at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark

  • behind the penalty mark

  • inside the field of play

  • outside the penalty area

Encroachment is not otherwise defined, so it is presumably used in its normal and relevant sense, to advance beyond the usual or proper limits.

Law 11.1, Offside position, is written in a similar way; it specifies what counts as offside, but does not define what it means to be "nearer to the opponents' goal line" for example.

The use of a physical position in space and not simply on the ground is not explicitly required in either case, nor is it implied in the definition of the field of play.

The most straightforward explanation is that offside can have significant impact on whether a goal has been legally scored; being in a position advantageous to the defender means the likelihood of regaining possession and shooting freely are much higher. With a penalty kick, that advantage is all but irrelevant, as one player has the free shot already, and therefore is ignored.

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