offside rule for dummies banner by GirlsGospel

Chances are, you found this post because you want to know what the offside rule is in football.

I’ve seen quite a few people posting on social media during the World Cup asking for an easy to understand explanation, so I figured I’d write a blog post explaining it in a way even non football fans could understand (and the football mums stood on the sidelines, not really sure what’s happening)….

I am a big football fan, and also a woman. Being able to confidently explain the offside rule has shut a lot of men up over the years, so I wanted to share the knowledge. I also want to get all the football mums up to speed on the rules…


According to the FA (Football Association), the Offside rule (also known as law 11) is viewable here, but its very confusing to work out.

The best explanation I have ever seen was this:

“A player is caught offside if he’s closer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-last opponent (including the goalkeeper) when his team-mate plays the ball to him.”

In other words, a player can’t receive the ball from a team mate unless there are at least two players either level with him or between him and the goal – unless his team mate plays the ball backwards to him.

I thought the image shown here explained it pretty well:
offside rule visual

A few things to remember….

A player being in an offside position is not penalised unless he is involved in active play.

A player can only be called offside when:

1). In the opposition’s half.

2). Interfering with play (that is, he’s part of the attacking move).

3). Interfering with an opponent (that is, he’s preventing the opponent from defending against the attacking move).

4). Gaining any advantage by being in that position.


I hope this blog post helped you to understand the offside rule a little better.

Let me know if you managed to amaze the football fan(s) in your life with the information I have shared!

Are there any other sports rules you’d like to see explained in these easy to follow style steps?

I don’t have a clue about snooker though, so you’re on your own there!

Mum Muddling Through
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