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Referees told to alter offside decisions after controversy in Man City vs Villa

Published on: 26 January 2021

Referees have been instructed to alter their interpretation of the offside rule, after widespread disagreement caused by Bernardo Silva's controversial Manchester City goal against Aston Villa last week.

Under the existing interpretation, the on-field referee Jon Moss and assistant Darren Cann were correct in deciding that the goal should stand, but while this new advice does not constitute a change in the law, the goal would have been ruled out under the new guidance.

The Premier League and EFL have written to all 91 professional clubs advising of the changes, which will now apply in all domestic competitions in the future.

In the letter, seen by Sky Sports News, it accepted that the general feeling within the game was that Rodri gained an unfair advantage in being able to challenge Tyrone Mings while coming back from an offside position.

As a result, the PGMOL has held talks with IFAB, football's lawmakers, and agreed a strategy for this specific part of the offside law going forward.

The letter states: "Where a player in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball, the match officials shall prioritise challenging an opponent for the ball, and thus the offence of 'interfering with an opponent by impacting on the opponent's ability to play the ball' shall be penalised."

However, if for example, an attacking player in an offside position receives the ball from a mis-placed pass or miskick by an opponent, that attacking player will NOT be flagged offside - a situation which Aston Villa benefitted from against Newcastle on Saturday, when Fabian Schar's attempted clearance fell to Ollie Watkins, who scored with a header.

Even after this latest clarification from the PGMOL, it remains a complicated grey area for football's officials. It is still left to a referee's discretion to decide when one "phase" of play becomes another.

The question remains about how long Rodri's offside position against Villa precludes him from re-entering the action, and making a valid attempt to win the ball.

Source: m.allfootballapp.com

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