Turning point: 'Passive' Jelavic plays active role in Ireland's demise
ACTIVE OR Inactive? The notion of active or inactive players in offside positions has been one of the most fiercely debated issues since its introduction, and Nikita Jelavic’s goal last night will ensure the arguments continue to rage in pubs from Poznan to Portumna.
Although Jelavic was clearly yards offside when Luka Modric’s shot first ricocheted around the Irish box, the decision of referee Björn Kuipers to deem the player “inactive” or “passive” meant he couldn’t be subsequently adjudged offside when Stephen Ward’s sliced clearance landed fortuitously into his path.
With no defenders near him, Jelavic made no mistake from the six-yard line with a tidy finish over Shay Given. Robbie Keane and Ward, who also had his heels clipped when attempting to clear, forlornly led the appeals but by the letter of the law the goal had to stand. It’s a rule that continues to baffle, with many holding that if a player isn’t interfering in any way, then what exactly are they doing on the pitch in the first place? Even Franz Beckenbauer, who chairs Fifa’s Football Task Force, is confused, describing the law as a “nonsense” and “too complicated”. Der Kaiser wants the rule simplified before the next World Cup but for now, gallingly from an Irish perspective, the rule stays.