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Gary Cahill rues ‘crazy’ offside rule in wake of Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat

Defender says ‘maddest rule I have ever seen’ led to Arsenal’s opener 
 ‘If Ramsey is not there, I can run out and get the ball,’ says Thibaut Courtois

Gary Cahill has described the current interpretation of the offside rule as “the maddest rule I have ever seen” as the Chelsea defender struggled to come to terms with the decision to award Alexis Sánchez’s opening goal in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Chelsea were also perplexed that the referee, Anthony Taylor, did not penalise the Arsenal forward for handball in the buildup. After that Aaron Ramsey’s initial movement towards the ball from an offside position prompted the assistant referee, Gary Beswick, to raise his flag. Yet while Ramsey’s presence may have been a distraction, the fact he did not touch the ball, directly interfere with an opponent or ensure his side gained an unfair advantage through his position meant Taylor eventually allowed the fifth-minute goal.
“That offside rule is a crazy rule,” said Cahill, who did admit Chelsea had been badly off the pace from the outset. “You can look to go to the ball and veer off and then you’re not offside. It is the maddest rule I have ever seen. If he is not there, and it does not affect things, then maybe Thibaut [Courtois] comes out and grabs the ball. But there’s also the handball. If he touches the ball with his hands in a natural position down by his side, I’d understand that [being allowed]. But when you have both hands above your face, you’re not telling me that is a natural position. It was incredible, to be honest. I spoke to him [the referee] at half-time and he was adamant he kneed the ball through. We saw it differently.”
Taylor had visited Chelsea’s Cobham training ground earlier this season to explain to the players what would be considered handball. “He told us a player’s hands should always be in a natural position,” said Courtois. “If he has his hands next to him and the ball hits him on the arm, he can’t do anything about it. But here he actually does a volleyball block. It’s one of the best blocks I’ve seen.
“And then there’s the offside, where Ramsey is clearly bothering me. If he’s not there, I can run out and get the ball before Alexis does. But because he’s standing there, I stop thinking he is going to collect it and shoot. As does the defence. He clearly interrupts the game for me and is taking part in active play.
“But, to be honest, Arsenal were just better than us. We can’t hide behind the first goal.”
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