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Is rebound offside?

by:Fodo Sports     2023-07-02

The rules of football can be confusing, and this is especially true when it comes to the offside rule. One aspect of the rule that is often debated is whether or not a rebound counts as offside. In this article, we will take a closer look at this topic and explore some of the key arguments on both sides.

What is the offside rule?

Before we dive into the question of whether a rebound is offside, it's important to have a clear understanding of what the offside rule actually entails. Simply put, a player is considered offside if they are in an offside position when the ball is played to them by a teammate. This means that the player is closer to the opponent's goal than the ball (or the second-to-last defender) at the moment the ball is played.

When a player is offside, they are not allowed to participate in active play. This means they cannot touch the ball or interfere with any other aspect of the game until they move back into an onside position.

Is a rebound offside?

Now, on to the main question at hand: is a rebound considered offside? The answer to this is somewhat complicated, as it depends on a few different factors.

Firstly, it's important to distinguish between a deliberate play of the ball and an accidental one. If a teammate deliberately plays the ball to a player who is in an offside position, that player will be considered offside even if the ball bounces off an opponent or the crossbar before reaching them.

On the other hand, if the ball ricochets off an opponent or the woodwork and ends up at the feet of a player who happens to be in an offside position, that player would not be considered offside. This is because the rebound is not considered a deliberate play of the ball, but rather an accidental one.

Another key factor to consider is whether or not the offside player is active in the play. If the player simply lets the ball continue on past them without attempting to touch it, they may be able to argue that they were not active in the play and therefore not offside. However, if the offside player does touch the ball in any way -- including blocking the view of the goalkeeper or an opponent, or attempting to play the ball in any other manner -- they will be considered offside and the play will be stopped.

Arguments for and against rebound offside

As with any contentious aspect of football, there are a variety of arguments both for and against considering a rebound to be offside. Let's take a look at some of the main ones.

Arguments in favor of rebound offside

One of the main arguments in favor of considering a rebound to be offside is that it prevents teams from using the rule to their advantage. Some teams may intentionally play the ball off an opponent or the crossbar in order to put an offside player into a scoring position. If rebounds weren't considered offside, this strategy would be much more effective and could lead to an unfair advantage.

Another argument in favor of rebound offside is that it simplifies the rule. By making it clear that any touch by an offside player -- accidental or intentional -- counts as offside, there is less room for interpretation and confusion. This would make the job of referees and linesmen much easier and could lead to fewer errors in calling the game.

Arguments against rebound offside

One of the main arguments against considering a rebound to be offside is that it can lead to unfair calls. If a player is in an offside position but has no intention of interfering with the play, it seems unfair to punish them for something they had no control over. Allowing rebounds to be exempt from the offside rule would avoid these types of situations, where a player is unfairly penalized for something that was out of their hands.

Another argument against rebound offside is that it's simply too difficult for referees to correctly call. Because it can be difficult to determine whether a player was actively participating in the play or not, officials may make incorrect calls that could have significant impacts on the outcome of the game. Allowing rebounds to be exempt from the rule would simplify things for referees and, again, potentially lead to fewer errors.


In the end, the question of whether or not a rebound is offside is a contentious one with valid arguments on both sides. While there are certainly benefits to keeping rebounds under the offside umbrella, there are also good reasons to exempt them from the rule. Ultimately, it may come down to personal preference and the perspective of individual teams, players, and referees. Regardless of where you fall on the issue, it's clear that the offside rule will continue to be a topic of debate in the world of football for years to come.

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