Can You Be Offside From Your Half (Full Guide)

One of the leading questions I found in a football forum is “Can you be offside from your own half?” Perhaps you’ve watched a soccer match and you saw the referee called offside and you wondered if the offside count was in your own half.

It can be confusing but there are some specific rules indicating when a player is offside and when they are not. To answer the question, you must first understand what the offside rule is and how it applies to the game.

In football, the offside rule is one of the most important regulations of the game, and it has been around the games for years. Plus, this post will cover other similar questions like;

READ: What Is Park The Bus In Football?

  • Can you be offside from a freekick in your own half
  • Can hand be offside

Also, at the end of the post, you will understand how offside occurs and if offside is a foul in football. So, grab a cup of coffee while you learn your questions.

What Does Offside Mean In Football

One of the rules in association football is offside, which is outlined in Law 11 of the Rules of the Game.

According to the rules, a player is considered to be offside if any of their body including their hands and arms are in the opposing team’s half of the field and closer to their goal line than both the ball and the opponent who comes in second place (the last opponent is usually, but not necessarily, the goalkeeper).

However, it’s not bad if a player is caught in an offside position, but a player who is in such a position when a teammate plays the ball can be found guilty of an offside offense if they receive the ball or otherwise become involved in active play, interfering with an opponent, or gain an advantage by being in that position.

As an attacker, you may be in a good position to convert a pass to a goal if you receive the ball behind the opposing defense.

But according to the offside rule, you are not allowed to convert a chance from that position but you may be in an onside position when the ball is played forward.

The ability to go into such a situation after the ball is kicked forward without committing the offense is limited, but well-timed passes and quick sprinting allow an attacker to do so.

READ: Is Soccer A Contact Sport? (Full Guide)

Offside rulings, which are mostly decided by mere centimeters or inches, can be extremely important in games since they can decide whether an attack can continue or even if a goal is allowed to stand.

Also, one of the duties of the assistant referees is to help the official determine if a player is on or offside; from their vantage point on the sidelines, they have a better view of the side of the field.

He or she can notify the referee by raising a signal flag, while the referee announces the occurrence of an offside offense. However, like every other sport, it’s only the referee that has the final decision in a game.

Is Offside A Foul In Football?

The offside offense does not fall under Law 12, hence it is neither a foul nor an unsportsmanlike conduct. However, like fouls, and play like the scoring of a goal that happens after an infraction but before the referee can stop the play is void.

Only when a defender intentionally leaves the field to mislead their opponents about a player’s offside position or when a forward returns to the field after leaving it and gains an advantage is an offside offense subject to caution.

The player is not penalized for being offside in either of these situations; instead, they are cautioned for engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct.

Can You Be Offside From Your Own Half?

Yes, you can be offside from your own half. This is a tricky question. I couldn’t conclude on my own until I interviewed a friend who happens to be a game official. Here’s what he said;

READ: 10 Best Soccer Video Games (2023) – Full Guide

Being offside and being a player in an offside position are two different things. The assistant referee must first look for a player in an offside position before making an offside determination.

And to qualify as a player in an offside position, you must:

  • in front of the ball AND the final defender in one’s offensive half of the field

One is “offside restricted” if there is a player in an offside position and their teammate is the one that touches the ball last. The player is now eligible to be offside, regardless of where they are, and this eligibility will last until offside is reset.

Therefore, if a player is in an offside position and a teammate touches the ball, the player in an offside position will be considered offside if he or she rushes back to his or her own half and plays the ball (or otherwise participates in play).

The same scenario almost always results in a player being flagged for being offside in their defensive half:

An attacker who hasn’t reset on the opposing team’s counter, his defense clearing a long ball while he is playing in an offside position, and then the attacker running past everyone (often 5–15 yards) to win the ball only to be flagged for being offside.

However, a player can not be considered to be in an offside position If he or she is in the defensive half at the moment his teammates touch the ball last.

Does Hand Count As An Offside?

Hands and arms do not count as offside in football. However, to identify the attacking player and the next-to-last defender, hands and arms are not taken into consideration.

READ: What Is A Fullback In Soccer? (Complete Guide)

Though the entire body, including the shoulders, counts. The goalkeepers are similarly affected by this; even though they can use their hands in the penalty area, they do not count; they wouldn’t count should they be the second to last defender.

If you pay attention to VAR rulings, you’ll see that the line is always drawn starting from the most developed area of the body that is legally permitted to control the ball, and hands and arms are not allowed in the game.

There are numerous instances where the hand and arm are in front of the defender yet it is not considered offside since the rest of the body is behind the defender.

VAR will typically examine the legs, abdomen, feet, toes, head, and bum if necessary, ignoring the arms and hands. They will also typically check the shoulder level with the armpit.

However, hands and arms don’t count as offside as much as they are not allowed in the game.

Can You Be Offside From A Freekick?

Yes, a player can be offside from a free kick if he or she receives the ball straight from a direct free kick, indirect free kick, or dropped ball.

Offside is determined when a teammate touches or plays the ball, not when the player receives it. As a result, a player may receive the ball significantly past the last opponent or even the last opponent without violating the rules.

Key Takeaway

Like every other sport, in football, the offside rule is one of the rules that guide the game, and it applies to every player during the play including the goalkeeper.

READ: What Is A Yellow Card In Soccer?

The rule state that a player is considered to be offside if any of their body including their hands and arms are in the opposing team’s half of the field and closer to their goal line than both the ball and the opponent who comes in second place.

Despite being a rule that guides the game, doesn’t make an offside a foul or misconduct.

Also, you can be in an offside position on your own half, and hands and arms do not count as an offside since they are not allowed in the game.