The Premier League has changed the interpretation of the offside law following Manchester City’s controversial opening goal against Aston Villa last week.
Rodri, running back from a clear offside position, won the ball off Tyrone Mings before setting up Bernardo Silva to score. It came at a crucial point in the game, with the score at 0-0 in the 79th minute, and City went on to win 2-0.
But now the Premier League has admitted that allowing a goal in such circumstances is not in the sprit of the game as the law intended.
The Premier League had said after the game that “Rodri has not gained an advantage, he has not committed an offside offence and play should be allowed to continue. Rodri legitimately took possession of the ball from Mings, starting the attack which resulted in the goal.”
Allowing the goal, a decision that was confirmed by the VAR, caused significant debate and discussion and led to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body that controls referees in the Premier League, to seek clarification from the lawmakers, The International Football Association Board (IFAB), and UEFA.
A Premier League statement released on Tuesday said “the spirit and intention of the Law is best reflected in decision-making going forwards,” meaning how a player becomes involved in the game from an offside position is most important.
The IFAB has offered guidance 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 of ‘interfering with an opponent by impacting on the opponent’s ability to play the ball’ should be penalised.”
This means that by challenging Mings for the ball, Rodri should have been given offside and another similar incident would be penalised in the future.
The Premier League did confirm that it was correct to allow Aston Villa’s first goal against Newcastle United on Saturday, when Fabian Schar’s miscued clearance played the ball to Ollie Watkins to score.
It’s the second time that the Premier League has had to relax the interpretation of the a law after a flurry of handball decisions at the start of the season.