It matters little at what level the game of football is played the rules remain or at least should remain the same. The trouble with the professional game is the habitual bending of the laws by players at every given opportunity. Unfortunately commentators aided and abetted by the pundit sitting beside them at the game or those watching back in the studio only serve to confuse the fans even more because they interpret the rules to fit their personal viewpoint.
For example Johnathan Pearce a voluble BBC commentator who often suffers from a case of verbal diarrhoea recently questioned the validity of an offside decision because the ball might have been touched by a defender prior to the goal being disallowed.
The offside rule clearly states:-
“A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the MOMENT the ball touches or is played by one of HIS TEAM he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by
(a) interfering with play,
(b) interfering with an opponent,
(c) gaining an advantage by being in that position”.
In simple terms a player is in an offside position when the ball is kicked and nowhere does it state anything about coming off or being touched by an opposing player.
One of our well known pundits Alan Shearer seems to interpret the rules to justify the way he played the game by approving of flapping elbows to gain elevation to head the ball, whilst at the same time calling for referees to award penalties against defenders for holding in the penalty area.
Holding anywhere on the field of play is an offence but players dancing with each other in the penalty box should be stamped out. Two of the most regular performers are Chris Smalling of Manchester United and Martyn Skrtl of Liverpool who should be prime candidates for the next showing of strictly come dancing. Shearers call for the award of penalties is right but his elbow appeal is rejected as the use of an arm or arms to gain an advantage in any circumstances is a foul.
Sad to say there are so many instances of rule bending that to deal with them all would make this piece too long , so more to come another day.