Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Offside Rule... In Coin Form

A coin that explains the offside rule in football produced to commemorate the London Olympic Games has sparked criticism for getting the offside rule wrong. Except it doesn't. Reading the referee criticism, they've made an elaborate technical point about a rule change made in 1995 and that the coin would be misleading. The only problem is that the coin doesn't say that at all. Take a look for yourselves.

Nowhere on this coin does it suggest passing to either player would make it offside. Indeed, I think the most reasonable interpretation is that it's saying that if you passed to one player it would be offside while passing to the other player wouldn't be.

In other words, the coin got it right! To quote the designer of the coin:
With all due respect, I reject Mal Davies's interpretation of the coin (rather than his interpretation of the offside law). Nowhere on the coin does it say that the 'offside' player is committing an offence – that is a supposition entirely of Mal's creation.

The coin simply states that the player is 'offside' – which is true, irrespective of whether or not an 'offside offence' results from this scenario. Furthermore, there are clearly space limitations on the coinface so it was obviously impossible to go into the finer details of the offside rule.

I think this incident highlights an important point. If you're going to mouth off about something, it's first a good thing to check that it's not you who has misinterpreted the information at hand. A simple rule of thumb to follow is that if there's a charitable and uncharitable way of interpreting what was said, it's probably best to give the benefit of the doubt and take the charitable option.

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