IFAB clarifies the on-field application of "Law 11-Offside"

August 18, 2005

A working group meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), chaired by FIFA Vice-President and chairman of the Referees’ Committee Angel Maria Villar Llona, took place in Zurich on 11 August 2005 to provide clarification on the on-field application of Law 11, Decisions 1 and 2, of the Laws of the Game: (http://www.fifa.com/en/regulations/regulation/0,1584,3,00.html). The wording of Law 11 and Decisions 1 and 2 taken by the IFAB during its meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, on 26 February 2005 were not changed, nor was their spirit. However, the first on-field experiences of the application of these decisions indicated a need for clarification. For that purpose, the working group met and agreed on the following text as “advice on the application of Law 11, IFAB Decision 2”: “A player in an offside position may be penalised before playing or touching the ball if, in the opinion of the referee, no other team-mate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball. If an opponent becomes involved in the play and if, in the opinion of the referee, there is potential for physical contact, the player in the offside position shall be penalised for interfering with an opponent.” In addition, the IFAB also agreed on the following clarification with regard to the position where the game restarts following an offside offence (Law 11 – Infringements/Sanctions): “The restart of the game shall be with an indirect free kick taken from the initial place where the player was adjudged to be in an offside position.” FIFA’s member associations were informed of the IFAB advice by circular on 17 August 2005 and are subsequently responsible for communicating these instructions to the referees and assistant referees within their associations. FIFA also reminded its associations of Art. 6 paragraph 1 of the FIFA Statutes, which clearly states: “Each member of FIFA shall play Association Football in compliance with the Laws of the Game issued by IFAB. Only IFAB may lay down and alter the Laws of the Game”. The circular closed by noting that the decisions of the IFAB and the Statutes of FIFA must be respected in their entirety.