The Premier League have issued new offside guidance which would have ruled out Manchester City’s hugely controversial goal against Aston Villa last week.
Villa were furious when midfielder Rodri tracked back from an offside position to tackle Villa defender Tyrone Mings and then set up Bernardo Silva for the crucial opening goal in their eventual 2-0 win.
Dean Smith, the Villa manager, was sent to the stands for his angry complaints over what he called a “farcical” decision while Mings himself took to Twitter and branded the ruling a “nonsense”. He said that he had “never even heard of that rule”, adding, “just let players stand offside and then run back and tackle you?”
Urgent talks were held and, while the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), subsequently defended the original decision, new guidance has been agreed with both the International Football Association Board (Ifab) and Uefa.
In the new additional wording for Law 11, which has been distributed to match officials, it says that ‘where a player in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball, the match officials should prioritise challenging an opponent for the ball, and thus the offside offence’.
This means that, if the Rodri situation was repeated, the correct decision would have been to award Villa a free-kick and rule out the goal. A player, however, can still challenge an opponent after being in an offside position if they do not impact on their ability to play the ball. In layman’s terms, it means that an attacker can still benefit from misplaced clearances, handballs and backpasses but cannot tackle an opponent.
The PGMOL remains adamant that the right call was made at the time but have welcomed the clarification.
In its guidance to officials, the PGMOL said that the “general consenses” following the match between Villa and Manchester City was that “Rodri gained an unfair advantage in being able to challenge Tyrone Mings” after starting from an offside position.
Watch: Warm up routine