Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not offsides, huh?

So, some burocrat from UEFA decided that Van Nistelrooy was correctly judged onside on his goal.

The starting point, said Mr (UEFA General Secretary David) Taylor, is the Laws of the Game – Law 11 – which deal with offside... "If you think back to the situation, the first is the goalkeeper, and the second is the defender (Panucci) who, because of his momentum, actually had left the field of play. But this defender was still deemed to be part of the game. Therefore he is taken into consideration as one of the last two opponents. As a result, Ruud van Nistelrooy was not nearer to the opponents' goal than the second-last defender...If we did not have this interpretation of the player being off the pitch then what could happen is that the defending team could use the tactic of stepping off the pitch deliberately to play players offside, and that clearly is unacceptable..."

In the modern interpretation (read: bastardization) of the offsides rule, when an offensive player is in an offside position, he can avoid being called offside by not involving himself in the play. The most recent case is the Czech Republic's goal against Switzerland. Even though the defense has set up to trap a player offside, this player can, in effect, negate that trap by not involving himself in the action, even though he is still in the way. Another player, who was not previously in an offside position can then streak behind the defense and walk in on goal. The defense winds up being punished because, even as the trap has snared its victim, they still have to defend against the players still in an onside position.

Now, UEFA is saying that the defenses do not enjoy that same privilege. So, when a player is sprawled out injured at the back, he plays the opposition onside. But, if an offensive player in a similar situation does not play his team offside. Similarly, if an offensive player, in tracking down a ball, winds up in the stands, and stays for a swig of beer (as well he should), he does not play his team offside. However, if, in trying to make a clearance, a defender winds up in the advertising boards, he is deemed to be part of the play and is "nearer" his goal than the striker standing at the goalmouth.

Being the (C U Next Tuesday) that he is, the UEFA burocrat hides behind a supposed defensive tactic of pulling off players from the pitch to trap teams offside...because running off the pitch is a more effective tactic than marking your opponent. What's worse, the statement implies that UEFA would not even trust its referees to determine if such a tactic was employed.
That's european burocracy for you. The arguing prevails over the argument. I'd rather hear the truth; that the powers that be want goals and don't care how they come. Sling that bullshit somewhere else.

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