Can you imagine football without offside? 11 Freunde magazine was so inspired by a rant on TV from actor Til Schweiger about the need to abolish Law 11 that it turned theory into practice. It staged a 60-minute game between two Berlin Oberliga (fifth tier) sides to see if the game would really be as exciting as some people suppose.
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The game is described in its latest issue (#180), outlining the presumptions beforehand. Abolishing offside would 1. Give players more space. 2. Encourage wing play, as happened when field hockey abolished the rule in 1998. 3. Teams would be prompted to give up the midfield. 4. There would be more shots and goals and 5. The game would go nuts! One interested observer was the manager of second division Union Berlin, Helmut Schulte, who criticised what he called the "crush football" of the modern game - characterised in his view by too many tight midfield battles.
The referee was 24-year-old Hüseyin Erol Özadali, who was looking forward to a quiet game. "Offside is one of the most difficult decisions for a referee," he understated. Because of course the