Offsides at a Corner Kick: What the Rules Say


There is no doubt that the offside rule in soccer is one of the most complicated in the game. So today, we’re going to look at one aspect of this rule – offsides at a corner kick – and I’m going to clearly explain whether a player can be offside at a corner kick.

There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a corner kick because a player cannot be in an offside position at the moment a player takes the kick. Therefore, to prevent confusion in this situation, the offside rule does not apply at a corner kick.

Being penalized for an offside offense requires a player to be in an offside position, which is not possible at a corner kick.

In this article, I’ll explain:

  • What it means to be in an offside position
  • How this applies to a corner kick
  • Why the players need to be careful not to find themselves offside immediately after the corner kick
  • and two other situations where there are no offsides
Can you be offside at a corner kick

Why You Can’t Be Offside at a Corner Kick

To understand why a player can’t be offside at a corner kick, you need to understand:

  • What it means for a player to be in an offside position,
  • and why that is not possible at a corner kick

Previously, I’ve explained the offside rules of soccer in more detail, but here I’m just going to give you the details you need to know as they relate to a corner kick.

What It Means to Be In an Offside Position

Being offside in soccer requires you to be in an offside position when the ball was last played or touched by another player on your team.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • Any part of their head, body, or feet is nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • And any part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.
example of a soccer player in an offside position
Example of a soccer player in an offside position

The key fact to notice here is that players are only in an offside position if they are nearer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball.

This statement is important because of the position of the ball at a corner kick.

Position of the Ball at a Corner Kick

At a corner kick, a player must kick the ball from one of the corner areas, or arcs, on a soccer field.

Each of these corner areas is next to one of the goal lines on the field.

This means that at a corner kick, a player is essentially kicking the ball from their opponent’s goal line.

And because a player is only in an offside position if they are nearer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball, there is no possibility that a player can be in an offside position at a corner kick. This is because they cannot be nearer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball.

soccer player taking a corner kick
Soccer player taking a corner kick

(*Note: Although the shape of the corner area does allow a player to kick the ball from a position slightly in-field from the goal line, the distance from the goal line is small enough to be negligible. Because it would be challenging for the officials to tell if a player is nearer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball or not, the rules simply state that there is no offside offense at a corner kick.)

When Can a Player Be Offside After a Corner Kick?

As I mentioned initially, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a corner kick.

An example of this would be the first player to head the ball after a player crosses the ball into the penalty area from a corner kick. Or the player that receives a pass from the corner kick.

These players cannot be offside because they received the ball directly from the corner kick.

(*Note: Touching the ball directly from a corner kick refers to the first player to touch the ball after the player taking the corner kick has kicked the ballThis player cannot be offside.)

However, as soon as one player has touched the ball directly from the corner kick, the offside rule is in force again, and the next player to touch the ball could be offside.

If the players are not alert to this fact, they could easily make a mistake and find themselves penalized for being offside.

Two More Situations Where a Player Is Not Offside

Having looked a whether a player can be offside from a corner kick, I want to quickly explain the two other instances in a soccer game where a player cannot be offside.

They are:

  1. At a goal kick
  2. And at a throw-in

A Player Cannot Be Offside From a Goal Kick

There is no offside at a goal kick because this would prevent the player taking the goal kick from being able to pass the ball to any player on their team outside of their half of the field.

soccer Player taking goal kick
Soccer player taking a goal kick

If you think about it, because a player is in an offside position if:

  • Any part of their head, body, or feet is nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and any part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field,

Then all the opposition players would have to do to prevent a player from the team taking the goal kick from receiving a pass would be to stand on the halfway line.

If all the defending players stand on the halfway line, then any attacking player in the attacking half of the field would have:

  • Part of their head, body, or feet nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.

This would put them in an offside position, and they would commit an offside offense if they touched the ball directly from the goal kick.

To prevent this scenario from happening, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick.

Check out my article – Offside From a Goal Kick: An Explanation of the Rules – to find out more.

A Player Cannot Be Offside From a Throw-in

After a corner kick and a goal kick, the third area where there is no offside offense in soccer is a throw-in.

soccer player about to throw soccer ball
Soccer player about to take a throw-in

The reason for no offside offense at a throw-in is similar to why there is no offside offense at a goal kick.

There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in because, if there were, a player would never be able to throw the ball further up the field if they were taking the throw from within the opposition’s half of the field.

Because of what it means to be in an offside position, all the opposition would have to do to prevent a player from throwing the ball forward would be to all stand on the halfway line.

If they did this and the player taking the throw-in threw the ball forward to another player on their team, then that player would have:

  • Part of their head, body, or feet nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.

This means they would be in an offside position, and they would commit an offside offense if they touched the ball directly from that throw-in.

To prevent this scenario from happening, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in.

Check out my article – Can you be offside at a throw-in? – to discover more.


Offside is just one rule in soccer.

If you want to find more out about other soccer rules, check out one of my related articles:

Ben

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Sign up to the yoursoccerhome.com newsletter here or check out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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