Football authorities have sought to clarify a law that allowed Bernardo Silva to score a highly controversial goal for Manchester City against Aston Villa in their 2-0 win last week.
City’s Rodri was returning from an offside position when he dispossessed Villa defender Tyrone Mings, who had controlled an aerial pass forward with his chest. Rodri set up Silva and City went 1-0 up.
The Villa bench was enraged and boss Dean Smith was sent off for his protests, which included asking fourth officials “whether they got juggling balls for Christmas”. He was subsequently charged by the FA with using abusive or insulting language.
At the time, by the letter of the law, the goal was legitimate, because Mings played the ball deliberately and so the offside player is deemed not to have gained an advantage.
But referees group the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, rulemakers the International Football Association Board, and European governing body Uefa have since offered clarification on how such an incident should be interpreted in the future.
“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.”
The statement from the Premier League added: “Accordingly, if a similar situation to the one involving Rodri’s impact on Mings occurred in a future match, then the impact would be penalised for offside.”