Football’s law-makers will be pressed to clear up the offside rule following Manchester United’s controversial equaliser in the Manchester Derby.
The International FA Board (Ifab) is meeting in London this week and the offside rule will be on the agenda, with clarification sought regarding the ‘grey area’ of players interfering with play.
The discussions will come following Manchester United’s equaliser at the weekend, a goal which Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji branded a ‘joke’ after his side’s defeat at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford was deemed not to be interfering with play, despite running towards the loose ball from a clearly offside position. Rashford halted his run at the last minute to allow an onside Bruno Fernandes to score and the goal has since been followed with criticism.
Rashford’s presence saw Akanji stop given his offside position, while his run also impacted the position of City goalkeeper Ederson who had come out to narrow the angle.
Linesman Darren Cann initially flagged for an offside, but after consultation with referee Stuart Atwell the goal was allowed to stand. United scored a second goal four minutes later to secure a comeback win.
Bruno Fernandes causes scenes at Old Trafford! 💥
His goal is ruled onside after the linesman initially put his flag up! ✅ pic.twitter.com/AJDIGH2Be5
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 14, 2023
According to the Times, Ifab will also look to clarify the laws around offsides when the ball has deflected from a defender to a forward in an offside position.
Recent examples include Mohamed Salah’s goal in Liverpool’s FA Cup draw with Wolves this month, when the Egyptian took advantage of an offside position to score after Wolves defender Toti was deemed to have ‘deliberately’ played an attempted header to clear the ball. Wolves argued that Toti would not have challenged for the header had Salah not been behind him.
Uefa’s chief refereeing officer, Roberto Rosetti, has been pushing Ifab to make changes, believing the current interpretation is ‘in conflict’ to the law which is designed to prevent any player from taking advantage from an offside position.