Off The Ball

Off The Ball (OTB) is a footballing term that is used to descrive events or actions on the football pitch which occur with players when they are not with the football. Such incidents are usually a fight, a late challenge or an injury.

Often the referee misses these off the ball incidents. But then the assistant referees or the linesmen observe such incidents and inform the referee who takes the necessary action. A (in)famous example of an “off the ball” incident occurred in the final of the 2006 Germany World Cup when French maestro Zinedine Zidane headbutted the Italian defender Marco Materrazzi. The referee appeared to have missed it but then the assistant referee did and Zidane was subsequently sent off.

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