I remember a situation when I was offside when I played football in school.

My college said that as an attacker, I could stay off the field (within the goal net) to avoid being offside during a free kick. Is it against the rules to be off the field for this reason?


1 Answer 1


It's against the rules to intentionally leave the field of play without the referee's permission (according to Law 3). So if the referee spots you hanging around off the pitch in order to try to gain some advantage, you're committing a foul.

It's ok to accidentally be outside the edge of the pitch but this doesn't count as being 'off the field' so to speak.

Edit: To add further clarification, it's a bookable offence to intentionally leave the pitch according to Law 12-2

  • 1
    Ah ok then my explanation still applies. If you are deliberately in the goal then that's a foul. If you are accidentally in the goal then you still count as on the pitch and are therefore able to be called offside. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:43
  • I'm the downvoter. This is not a 'foul'. (Pedantic, but it's important to get terminology right here.) Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:02
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    I don't understand your issue with this. A foul is a generic term for a rule break. You haven't suggested what the correct terminology is, either. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:31
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    The generic term for breaking the rules is an infringement or offence. Fouls are only the ten direct free kick offences and seven indirect free kick offences listed in Law 12. The seven cautionable offences and seven sending-off offences in Law 12 are misconduct, which is the term I believe you are after. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 23:49
  • Do you know if it changed recently? Say, within the last 20 years or so. Because I think I remember that players leaving the field to avoid off-side used to be praised, not cautioned. (if it changed it was a good change, I say) Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 21:07

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