With World Cup in full swing, and at the risk of incurring the wrath and opprobrium of aficionados of the "beautiful game," I think it would be more beautiful, much simpler, less frustrating, and more enjoyable for players and fans alike, if the off-side rule were eliminated.
It has a convoluted definition that is hard to understand and even harder to enforce. Who can really tell if any part of the player (the nose or a toe, for example) is ahead of the second to last defender at the precise moment the ball is played by a teammate who may be far down the pitch?
It requires a subjective judgment call by an official who may not be in a good position to observe the action, who has to closely observe multiple players at once, and who must rule almost instantaneously, with little opportunity for review or reversal. The rule tends to slow the game and depress scoring opportunities, resulting in many draws or very low-scoring games. Finally, it leads to controversy and detracts from the really beautiful aspects of the game. I say boot the off-side rule and open up the game.
Salt Lake City
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