THE offside rule is one of the most fundamental laws of football.
However, at times it can be the most controversial ruling and can change the course of a club or countries fortunes.
If you have always been confused by offsides, don't worry, the law has become more vague and confusing in recent years.
The interpretation of the offside rule has changed over the decades to help the attacking team, however the essential body of the ruling has never changed.
The offside law dates back to football rules made by English public schools in the nineteenth century.
So what is the offside law and how has it been enforced over the decades?
Here's SunSport's look at the rule and how it works.
What is the offside rule?
The laws of football state that a player will be offside if the ball is played forward to them in the opposing teams half, and there no opposing player between them and the opposing goalkeeper during this sequence of play.
Being in an offside position is not an offence in itself, the moment the player in the offside position plays the ball or attempts to play the ball, then they will be seen as "actively involved in play" and that is when the offence occurs.
A player can also be flagged offside if the ball is played to them from their own half and the player is standing in the opposing half the moment the ball is played.
What happens after offside is called?
Being ruled offside on a football pitch is an offence, but there no individual player punishment for being caught out.
A player will be flagged but the only sanction is the ball is given to your opponents to restart play in the form of a free kick in their own half of the pitch.
A player can only be judged to be in an offside position if they are in the opponents half when the ball is played forward.
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So has the offside law changed over the years?
The law has changed to adapt to changes in the game over time to make it more entertaining, understanding for fans and to allow attacking players more opportunities to score goals.
The game law makers IFAB (International Football Association Board) have adjusted the rule saying a player will be considered to be offside they make a clear attempt to play the ball, be close to the ball and have an impact on the opponent, or to make an obvious action to have an impact of the opponents.
In other words if you are offside you have to stay still and allow play to continue while you move back into an onside position.
And now with VAR in play, offside is more clear-cut than it used to be.
What are semi-automatic offsides?
A new technology known as Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SOAT) was trialled in the Champions League for the first time on Tuesday November, 16, 2022.
The technology has been brought in to make offside decisions quicker and more accurate.
It uses several cameras to track the movement of the players, as well as the ball.
The semi-automated offside technology is going to be used at the Qatar World Cup.
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