Shankly laid down right offside law - Fifa should take note

16:00, Feb 07 2013

It's old ground I know but Bill Shankly's great line about a player interfering with play still stands.

Fifa is talking about telling referees to take a more lenient view of this when dealing with offsides.

It's already pretty lenient - players can be offside throughout an entire passage of play, then pop up at the end and score.

Former Liverpool boss Shankly famously said: "If a player isn't interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be".

Further to that, if a player is allegedly not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, what is he doing on the park?

It's a nonsense.


The proposed new interpretation would say: "A player is judged to be interfering by clearly obstructing an opponent's vision or challenging an opponent for the ball". Players who like to "seagull" will be chuffed.

Fifa should be telling refs to change their interpretation of the offside law. They should rule more players are interfering.

If we are going to give referees new instructions, then let's deal with the rules we have. Ronaldinho missed a penalty against England yesterday and three England players encroached before the kick was taken.

The officials should have had the kick taken again but this is a rule that is rarely enforced and I suspect professional players are largely ignorant of as a consequence.

The FA mucked up the cover of its England-Brazil programme by putting Roy Hodgson, Steven Gerrard and Leighton Baines on the front. Baines' place there should have gone to Ashley Cole, who became the seventh player to win 100 England caps. Cole is not the most popular left-back in England but he is one of the best they have ever had.

Scotland could revamp their league and use a model that has been tried in Switzerland and Austria. It involves three divisions, with 12, 12 and 18 teams. The top two leagues split into three divisions after two rounds have been played and the middle league determines where they play the following season. Can't see Rangers being opposed to that.

Schmeichels in the news: Dad Peter has called on the PFA to help Paul Gascoigne, saying he's been abandoned by people close to him. Son Kasper made his full Denmark debut midwee, and let in three in the loss to Macedonia. Gascoigne has hit the bottle again and was a rambling, shaking mess at a recent charity bash. Sadly, and this has always been the case with "Gazza", the English crowd loved it. Gascoigne was booked into a clinic in the US this week.

Louis Saha is expected to sign for Lazio . . . A planned meeting involving Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese and Matthew Le Tissier was canned this week amid claims the former Saints star broke an agreement to keep quiet about it . . . LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane is training at Spurs to keep his fitness levels up.

West Brom defender Goran Popov is issuing apologies after being red-carded for spitting in the direction of Tottenham defender Kyle Walker . . . Brian McDermott and Adam Le Fondre scored a double for Reading by being named manager and player of the month for January.

Nottingham Forest are looking for a new manager after Alex McLeish lasted just 41 days in the hot seat. Billy Davies is a strong contender.

The match-fixing investigation will look at the Liverpool-Debrecen fixture of 2009. The Hungarian team's goalkeeper, Vukasin Poleksic, was approached by fixers before a later Champions League tie against Fiorentina and banned for two years for failing to report the fact - but there is no evidence the Liverpool game, won 1-0 by the Reds, was actually rigged.

Peter Odemwingie, who was sitting in QPR's carpark when he learned his move from West Brom to London had fallen through, could go on loan to Crystal Palace. The 31-year-old will get a frosty reception at the Hawthorns after becoming the latest player to do himself no favours on Twitter.

Forex broker Alpari will pay £3 million a year to have their names on West Ham's shirts from next season . . . most African Cup of Nations' stars will return to premier league action this weekend.

Weekend fixtures:

England, Spurs v Newcastle, Chelsea v Wigan, Norwich v Fulham, Stoke v Reading, Sunderland v Arsenal, Swansea v QPR, Southampton v Man City. Sunday, Villa v West Ham, Man Utd v Everton. Monday, Liverpool v West Brom. Scotland, Tonight, Dundee v Ross County. Tomorrow, Inverness v Celtic, Aberdeen v St Mirren, Dundee Utd v Hearts, Kilmarnock v Motherwell. Monday, Hibernian v St Johnstone

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