It was only a few years ago that the three provisos - interfering with play, interfering with an opponent and gaining an advantage - were introduced. A player could be given offside only if one of those three conditions are met.
The part in the law about interfering with play is, thank the Lord, left untouched. But the second provisio, which currently states, "“interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing
or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a
gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent" is changed.
Concentrate now, at the back of the class.
This now reads“interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing
or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent
for the ball."
Simple eh? Well No. Not really. The bit about the referee having the leeway to decide if an attacker is trying to deliberately distract the goalkeeper disappears. Instead we get something about defenders challenging for the ball. So if a defender does not challenge the ball, but stands in front of the goalie waving his arms, then he's OK?
And then there's the final proviso, which currently reads; "gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.
This is replaced with a monster text.
“gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball (i) that rebounds or is deflected to
him off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position (ii) that rebounds, deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position. A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate
save), is not considered to have gained an advantage
IFAB's justification for its action is almost witty in its irony.
"The current wording creates many discussions as it gives too much room for interpretation and is not precise enough. The new text is more in line with actual game situations and will eliminate the confusion regarding what is meant by rebound, deflection and when the ball has been deliberately saved."
I sincerely hopes that sensible voices will be heard at the meeting in Scotland and that this proposal is sent back to the drawing board for another 12 months.
FIFA says it wants to simplify the law. Its current proposal does the exact opposite.