Sports Letters: Offside and off the wall

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rakesh Chhabra (Letters, 11 November) is right about the harm done by the offside rule. My suggestion for reform goes like this: Offside will only be given if the defending team appeal for it and the linesman agrees; it is punishable by a direct free-kick to the attacking team (obviously), from the point where the last defender was standing at the time of the offence (or if this was in the penalty area, a penalty kick). A defender guilty, in the referee's opinion, of "persistent offsiding" may be shown the yellow card, and in extreme cases the red one.

If the administrators really believed in the present rule, they would have instructed referees that players who persisted in being caught off- side must be sent off.

Bob Newman

Epsom, Surrey