Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 27986

Law 11 - Offside 11/8/2013

RE: Pro Adult

GenevaRed of Oxford, UK asks...

An attacking player is slow returning to his own half while the opposition mount an attack deep into the other half - the ball gets cleared by his team into the centre circle which is patrolled by 2 opposing defenders. The attacker runs from an offside position & intercepts the ball back in his own half running towards his own goals. The ball never crosses the half way line but the officials give offside & an IDFK from where the attacker started - I believe this is the correct ruling but cannot understand why? If anything the attacker is disadvantaged by having to run further than the defenders to get to the ball - maybe he is exploiting the element of surprise? - but as most changes to the offside interpretation favour the attacker I really don't get this one??

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Of course this is offside and the indirect free kick is taken from the location the player was in when the ball was last played touched by his team mate not from where the offending player touched the ball.
One of the fundamental parts of Law 11 offside is location of the player. If the player wanted to be in an onside position then he should have retreated into his own half. He chose not to.
Whether we agree with the rationale or merit for ofside in these type of scenarios is irrelevant. One can argue that the player came from behind the defender which is always more diffcilut to mark or as you say surprise due to the defender being unable to get the player in view due to body angle, are all factors.
If we go back to the original intent of Law 11 when it was introduced over a hundred and fifty years ago it was to prevent the lazier players from simply hanging about the goal zone, waiting to take the ball and aim for an easy goal (sneaking). The lazy player today still gets punished as in this case. Make it all the way back into his own half and there is no possible offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Ignore everything but this statement in your question: 'The attacker runs from an offside position & intercepts the ball back in his own half running towards his own goals.' Go to Law 11 and see what it says regarding your scenario.
1. The player is in an offside position when the ball is played by a teammate.
2. The player touches the ball so he is interfering with play.

Nothing else matters but these two things which clearly make this an offside offense.
While these events don't coincide with the intent of those that introduced offside into the Laws some 150 years ago, they nonetheless make this player guilty of an offside offense.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 27986
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>