Refs fear new offside rule will cause Premier League 'chaos'

Controversial law has been rewritten, but attempt to bring clarity could backfire

(Image credit: 2013 Getty Images)

AN ATTEMPT by Fifa to clarify the much-maligned offside rule next season could backfire spectacularly, it has been claimed.

According to the Daily Mail efforts to simplify what the officials must take into account when deciding if a player is "interfering with play" or "gaining an advantage" while offside could have the opposite effect.

The newly-worded rule came into force at the start of July and the paper warns that it has the potential to bring "chaos" to the Premier League.

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"On the surface, the alteration to one of football's most-talked about and controversial laws appears to reduce the uncertainty," says the paper. But it warns that referees "are privately worried the change will only breed further confusion among players and supporters, placing the spotlight once again on to the officials".

Under the new rules a player is now only "interfering with play" if he is obstructing an opponent, blocking his view or actually challenging them for the ball.

A line in the old rule about players making "a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent" has been removed.

There has also been a change to the wording of the part of the law that decides if a player was "gaining an advantage" by being offside.

It remains the case that a player is still offside if the ball hits the post or crossbar. But the new rule says that even if a goalkeeper or defender touches the ball as they make a "deliberate save" their opponent is still offside.

In short, rebounds, deflections and, importantly, "saves" by opposition players no longer render attackers onside.

But while the new rules have raised concerns among Premier League whistleblowers, the Mail says officials were "delighted" by a demonstration of the new goal-line technology that will come into force next season.

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