Law 11 - Offside
It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
he is in his own half of the field of play or
he is level with the second-last opponent or
he is level with the last two opponents
A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
interfering with play or
interfering with an opponent or
gaining an advantage by being in that position
There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from:
a goal kick
a corner kick
Infringements and sanctions
In the event of an offside offense, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick).
Interpretations of Law 1
In the context of Law 11 – Offside, the following definitions apply:
“nearer to his opponents’ goal line” means that any part of a player’s head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition
“interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate
“interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent
“gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position
When an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick to be taken from the position of the offending player when the ball was last played to him by one of his team-mates.
Any defending player leaving the field of play for any reason without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on his own goal line or touch line for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play. If the player leaves the field of play deliberately, he must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play.
It is not an offence in itself for a player who is in an offside position to step off the field of play to show the referee that he is not involved in active play. However, if the referee considers that he has left the field of play for tactical reasons and has gained an unfair advantage by re-entering the field of play, the player must be cautioned for unsporting behavior. The player needs to ask for the referee’s permission to re-enter the field of play.
If an attacking player remains stationary between the goalposts and inside the goal net as the ball enters the goal, a goal must be awarded. However, if the attacking player distracts an opponent, the goal must be disallowed, the player cautioned for unsporting behavior and play restarted with a dropped ball from the position of the ball when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.