There’s been a great deal of debate and conflicting views with regard to the Arsenal goal in the north London derby with Tottenham Hotspur.
The You Are The Ref team were clear that the movement by the Arsenal player (Alexis Sanchez), who was in an offside position, had an effect on the actions of Tottenham Hotspur player (Kevin Wimmer) in heading into his own net. The resulting goal should have been ruled out for offside.
Not offside, said former referees Webb and Poll.
Offside, wrote Hackett and Halsey in their columns in the Daily Telegraph and Sun. Halsey amplified the reasons why in the YATR Ref Show.
I thought the debate by Match of the Day involving former top players Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy was enlightening and informative. They quoted correspondence from the PGMOL allegedly supporting the non-offside decision.
Shearer and Murphy came to the conclusion – correctly – that the goal should have been ruled out for offside.
So, to add to the debate and to underpin why the offside law requires revision on interfering with an opponent, I detail below an article that appeared in the Guardian in August 2015. This was after the new interpretation, now in force, was arrived at by the International Football Association Board.
I quote: –
“One of the new features with which Premier League teams will be confronted this season is a slightly tweaked offside rule.
The change places extra scrutiny on players who might not previously have been deemed as interfering with play. Under the new regulations, issued by football’s law-making body, IFAB, anybody in an offside position who makes an “obvious action” to play the ball but fails to make contact will be flagged offside if it is considered that they impacted upon an opponent’s ability to deal with the situation.
Mike Riley, the general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, explained that the change targets “morally” offside actions.
“Previously when someone didn’t touch the ball but obviously impacted on another player, you couldn’t flag them,” he said. “The new guidance says if a player clearly attempts to play the ball, which is close to him and impacts on an opposing player, or if he makes an obvious action that impacts on an opposing player, that can now be penalised as offside.
“It allows those decisions where morally we all thought, ‘That should be offside’ to be penalised. It’s important to say it doesn’t mean everything is offside. Unless you meet those specific criteria we will still keep the flag down. We still have to encourage attacking play.”
“The new laws will apply across all leagues and club competitions as well as international fixtures throughout this season.”