I’m enjoying this small controversy. One of the new UK 50p designs that has been minted to commemorate this year’s Olympics shows a rather nifty explanation of football’s offside law. Referee and Boring Man Mal Davies has criticized the design for showing an out of date version of the law. He claims that the diagram on the coin doesn’t take into account a 1995 revision, whereby players are only flagged offside if they are interfering with play. As the coin’s designer points out, this is a pretty stupid criticism for a number of reasons: 1) the coin shows which player is in an offside position and which is not, rather than which player is committing an actual offence; 2) illustrating the “interfering with play” element of the law would be far too complex for such a small design.

Summary: if there’s anything more satisfying than successful pedantry, it’s seeing a piece of pedantry proved wrong.

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