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You are in the middle of a hotly contested game. A player makes a nice run to the by line and lets loose a great cross into the opposing penalty area where it looks likely to coincide with the head of a streaking onside attacker when a desperate defender, deliberately handles the ball inside the penalty area knocking the ball away. As you are bringing the whistle to your mouth, the ball falls to the feet of another attacker at the far side of goal , you wait and he buries a shot into the goal.

You eye check your AR and see that he has the flag up! After a discussion with the AR, you determine that the player who SCORED the goal was in an offside position at the time of the initial pass. What's Your Call?

Your Match Your Decision Your Reputation

Russell Montgomery
Goal. After discussing with the AR, the Centre ref agrees that the player was offside at the time of the initial pass, however, they advise that with the deliberate play at the ball by the defender, the offside is reset. (It would be interesting to know just how close to the byline the attacking player was before crossing the ball, as it sounded like there was not much room for a team mate to be offside!) Defender to receive yellow card for the foul committed. Being deliberate, the yellow is the minimum, and had there not been (an advantage from) the offside reset – then a red card dismissal for denying a goal scoring opportunity would be applicable – and a penalty kick awarded.

Aaron Speca
The deliberate play on the ball by the defender, even though it was an illegal touch, negates the offside. As there was an advantage and play was not whistled, the goal counts.

Simon Walsh
Goal and caution the defender for USB for deliberate handball denying opposition possession of ball (p.119 LOTG). This is a 3-issue problem. The game is about scoring goals, which lifts one consideration above the others. The goal scorer is in an offside position (when kicked in from sideline), however he is only penalised for it, for one of the three reasons on p.35 LOTG. As to whether the third reason, gained an advantage from being in that position, at p. 108 it specifically states he is not, if the ball had been deliberately played by an opponent. The OP says the defender deliberately handled the ball, to keep it away from one attacker, only to have it deflected to another. Regardless that the defender illegally played the ball, it was nonetheless deliberately played by him, thereby resetting the next phase of play, not penalised for offside. I would still issue a caution, as the defender denied the first attacker his opportunity to score by his illegal actions. This is misconduct, and while the foul may be surpassed by an advantage, the misconduct warrants actioning. Regarding the DOGSO consideration (if goal not awarded): the first attacking player does not have possession of the ball. He may get possession, but if he did would he have a goal scoring opportunity? Even the wording of the OP, is doubtful of this, with the phrase; (the ball crossed in) ‘looks likely to coincide with the head of a streaking onside attacker. The HB by defender was to ensure the opposition player didn't get a chance to get possession, but in fairness I could not project events further to suggest he had a goal scoring opportunity.

Gwyn Williams
Good question! Does the deliberate handling of the ball by a defender reset the offside situation? Not one I have come across in practice but I would say it does. So having played advantage, the referee should allow the goal as the defender deliberately played the ball to the attacker who was in an offside position and scored

Paul Hofmann Smyrna GA USA Referee
GOAL! (and Caution) Rule 1 of Law 11 (Offside) is that it is NOT an offense to be in an offside position, therefore the fact "that the player who SCORED the goal was in an offside position at the time of the initial pass" does not matter one iota. It is perfectly legal for him to be in that position! Because the defender "deliberately handles the ball" - the ball was last played with a deliberate touch by the defending team, NO OFFSIDE! The fact that the goal was scored however means that you may NOT give a red for DOGSO to the defender. Simply allow the legal goal, and issue the handler a caution, perhaps a verbal scolding informing him he got lucky!

Within recent memory the LOTG have under gone many radical changes in perception, wording and actual implementation. Offside law 11 is certainly no stranger to controversy. Hence we posed this situational dilemma for you to mull over.

Give yourself some credit if you arrived at a good goal, kick off and a possible caution, show the yellow card to the defender who tried but failed to prevent a goal! We consider that the best answer that befits this situation.

The DELIBERATE HANDLING could have resulted in a PK and a send off show the red card for DOGSO which given the circumstances, many felt was acceptable.

A few felt awarding the pk and a caution show the yellow card was sufficient.

However, lets not quibble, the REAL DEAL here is HOW can an offside opponent be gifted a goal from an illegal handling action by the defense?

We can PLAY advantage for ANY infringement of the LOTG.
It is NOT an offence to be in an offside position
The NEW offside interpretation states a DELIBERATE PLAY of the ball by a player RESETS offside for the opponents.
There is no QUARANTEE of control or possession, so one can not say the ball is deflected or rebounded off the hands BECAUSE if that WAS true, there is NO FOUL! The offside player could NOT participate as he would STILL be restricted. The defenders get a break in that the defender is NOT sent off and their opponents get the goal as a reward for their efforts. The ONLY mitigating factor here is the offside attacker who gets the fortunate redirect has not challenged or interfered with an opponent up and until that DH foul had occurred.

There are those who do not accept the LOTG have altered to allow this goal where in previous thinking it might not have been thought as of correct. Too bad, you are incorrect, the OBVIOUS inference we can draw from the changes is IFAB and FIFA want more scoring opportunities more goals and are less concerned with defenders raising their arms asking to use the restroom as they fail to grasp the LOTG HAVE been redefined. DO NOT PLAY THE FLAG! The flag is for the referee only! Players, you PLAY that WHISTLE! ARs you need to refocus your efforts and COMMUNICATE with the referee. When in doubt NO FLAG! Do not wave it about.

Ask yourself the SAME process you use to determine deliberate handling to gauge if the ball is deflected or rebounds as opposed to being DELIBERATELY played.

Ask yourself if you are aware and understand the latest version of offside as it is meant to be interpreted. Many claim they are confused. There is no reason, it STILL is an opinion on a fact of play as to judging the criteria.
We do NOT reward mistakes by defenders.
It is NOT an offence for attackers to be offside positioned.
You do not GAIN an advantage IF the opponents deliberately play the ball to you!
Consider the factors of awareness, time, space, speed and distance as to whether a ball impacts a player thus not deliberately played, even if there is a reaction of sorts to a very REAL challenge, a conscious effort to DELIBERATELY play the ball.

Ask yourself whether the offside opponent is impacting the ability of the defender if his choice of actions affects the outcome of play, when considering whether an attacker is challenging an opponent and you will find less reasons now to willingly stop play for non offside offences that previously you might have thought otherwise

Get rid of the old dodgy misconception that a dodgy goal is worse than a dodgy offside. Less flags, more goals Be sure! As always
Your Match Your Decision Your Reputation

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