Proof why linesmen are in the dark on offsides

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The Independent Football

At last, the truth is out. What everyone knew all along is now a scientific fact: when it comes to the offside rule, referees and linesmen are blind.

At last, the truth is out. What everyone knew all along is now a scientific fact: when it comes to the offside rule, referees and linesmen are blind.

In a report in the British Medical Journal a Spanish doctor, Francisco Belda Maruenda, says the human eye is physiologically unable to process all the information needed to apply the rule correctly. They must be able to keep at least five moving objects in their visual field at the same time - two players from the attacking team, two from the defending team, as well as the ball - in order to make a fully informed decision.

Dr Maruenda said this was beyond the capacity of the human eye - "especially as these five objects can be anywhere within the defenders' half of the pitch, an area of up to 2,000 square metres. This may explain why so many offside decisions are controversial and why television replays of a game clearly show that the offside rule was not properly enforced."

His conclusion? Modern technology, such as freeze-frame television and frame-by-frame analysis. Until then, we're all in the dark.

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