29 Weeks of British Olympic and Paralympic sports – Week 12: Football

The football 50p was designed by Neil Wolfson.

Neil Wolfson is a production journalist living in London. He designed his coin in the hope that it would encapsulate football in one simple image.

As the offside rule is a perennial talking point, the image is designed to provoke discussion…and it certainly did that!

The coin is on its way to becoming a modern design classic, and it has made thousands of people aware of the offside rule. Of course, trying to clear up something so monumentally misunderstood wasn’t universally appreciated!

Neil was invited onto BBC News to talk about his design, it was featured worldwide in blogs and in tweets, and it continues to be the biggest selling of the London 2012 50ps!

1) Have you seen your coin ‘in the wild’ yet?

No, but then I usually tell people to keep the change.

2) Have you heard what the British team think about it?

I met Rachel Yankey, who seemed to like it. All being well she’ll play for Team GB this summer.

3) What are you looking forward to in 2012?

The Olympics. Particularly track & field. As Michael Johnson says, it’s all about the winter training and the speed endurance. I’m also looking forward to the Olympics football, Euro 2012, the Paralympics and the Jubilee weekend.

You can follow what Neil’s been up to since designing the coin by following @NeilWolfson on Twitter.

If you would like to get your hands on one of the famous ‘Offside’ 50p coins, keep checking your change or visit The Royal Mint website to buy one today!

Buy the Offside 50p from the Royal Mint website

About Team GB

Spread across six major grounds around the UK, the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition promises plenty of excitement. The final announcement of a team has not happened yet…but we eagerly await news of its formation. There is no doubt that the Summer’s football activities will be hugely popular!


The Football 50p – Offside explained

There’s some debate about whether The Royal Mint’s Football 50p design accurately explains the offside ‘rule’.

The coin’s designer, Neil Wolfson, says he never intended the coin to explain the detail of the rule, but simply to provide a strong design that showed what an offside position is.

He gives us some insight into his own thinking behind the design:

With all due respect, I reject Mal Davies’s interpretation of the coin (rather than his interpretation of the offside law). Nowhere on the coin does it say that the ‘offside’ player is committing an offence – that is a supposition entirely of Mal’s creation.

The coin simply states that the player is ‘offside’ – which is true, irrespective of whether or not an ‘offside offence’ results from this scenario.

Sounds reasonable to us. Neil continues…

Furthermore, there are clearly space limitations on the coinface so it was obviously impossible to go into the finer details of the offside rule.

But for those who don’t understand offside, it’s not a bad starting point (with further explanation) – and the coin seems to amuse those who do appreciate the offside rule.

So I simply don’t agree with Mal’s objection – on the basis that he refers to the ‘offside offence’, despite the coin having no such reference. I just hope Mal doesn’t book me for showing dissent.

So what do you think? You can comment below, tell us on Facebook or join the discussion on Twitter.

Regardless of the outcome…The Royal Mint will continue making British coins relevant and getting people talking about the treasure in their pockets!

Visit our website to get your hands on the Football 50p or any of our other coins designed and manufactured in Britain to commemorate London 2012