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UEFA to clarify offside rule

April 29, 2004 21:26 IST
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UEFA will distribute a DVD to national football associations in an effort to clarify interpretation of the offside rule in time for Euro 2004.

FIFA introduced new guidelines last year on how to intepret the rule, emphasising that players who do not touch the ball or block the goalkeeper's view should not be flagged offside.

The guidelines caused confusion in some leagues and UEFA is now seeking to clarify its own position before the European Championship finals, starting on June 12.

"We're emphasising that the offside rule itself has not changed," Ken Ridden, vice-chairman of UEFA's referees committee, said on Thursday. "We're talking about interpretation and application.

"It's important that we let players and coaches know how referees will apply the rule."

Ridden was speaking at the end of a four-day workshop and training camp with referees and assistant referees who will officiate at Euro 2004.


The officials were shown an early version of the video that will be sent to national football associations before the tournament and were able to discuss the examples shown.

Assistant referees were reminded by UEFA that it is better for them to delay a decision on whether to raise a flag for offside rather than make a wrong decision in haste.

"It will be good for education at all levels," said Ridden. "It's totally in agreement with FIFA's circular on the matter last year."

The referees say they are perfectly clear on the guidelines but have welcomed the DVD as a means of helping fans.

"It's difficult to educate spectators on the offside rule," said Slovakia's Lubos Michel.

"There's so much emotion in the stands and sometimes that's because the fans don't know the law."

European soccer's governing body has also decided that players taking off their shirts during goal celebrations will automatically receive a yellow card at the tournament.

The ruling was due to apply in July but UEFA has told referees to enforce it throughout Euro 2004, which runs from June 12 to July 4.

"We're setting an example on this," said Ridden.

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