Since the age of six, my son has played soccer. I’ve attended dozens of Sunday morning matches as a cheering parent – but also as a linesman and occasional ref. Great fun – especially when he scores a goal. But nothing causes as much angst to a volunteer official as the offside rule. Woe betide you if you get this law wrong!
Explaining the offside rule to football beginners (and their parents) can be difficult and frustrating. So I was cheered to read this morning that this topic is as much an issue in Britain (where the modern-day game was invented) as it is in Australia.
Now there’s a 50 pence coin which attempts to explain football’s offside rule to the many who do not understand it. Designer Neil Wolfson, a sports journalist and football fanatic, says he hopes people can use the coin when they are trying to clarify the complicated law.
“If I had 50p for every time someone had asked me to explain the offside rule I’d be a very rich man!” he says.
An ingenious diagram on the coin’s reverse outlines a football pitch with simple icons showing whether a player is offside or not.
The coin is part of a new Royal Mint set celebrating the London 2012 Olympics. I really should get one for the next time my boy runs on to the soccer pitch.