Offside rule can never be truly known, say officials
The guardians of the game’s rules and regulations have returned from their period of communion with the spirits to announce that the offside rule is to change in unknowable ways.
Journalists and fans gathered on Wembley Way after a plume of white smoke was spotted above FA headquarters, signifying that the Lawgivers had received instruction from beyond this mortal plane.
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A black-cowled FA monk, clutching a stone tablet and a chequered red and yellow flag, emerged into the sunlight to announce the changes to the assembled crowd.
“After consulting with the Spirit of the Game, we can declare that if a player makes an obvious action, with the intention of playing the ball, which clearly impacts the ability of an opponent to intend to take an obvious ball-playing action, whether or not he touches the ball, then he is damned for all eternity, for damned are we all.
“Seek ye not clarification of the offside rule! Accept the decision of the officials or ye shall be cast out of the fit and proper place, and shall suffer forever the cleansing fire of hell. The sacred mysteries shall be known only to a few, like Mark Clattenburg, and Martin Atkinson, and Sian Massey, but not, and I want to make this absolutely clear, Phil Dowd.”
The black-cowled figures then began their slow pilgrimage back to the monastic fortress of Bisham Abbey, led by a bell-ringing novice who chanted “repent thy dissent” at frightened passersby.
Although the FA is infallible according to its own doctrines, a rival faction has suggested that a player may be both offside and onside simultaneously, the so-called Schweinsteiger’s Catch, a notion that has been condemned as heretical by the Elder Council.