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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 29487

Law 1- The Field 6/20/2015

RE: Competitive Other

Paul of Milton, Ontario Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29486

This interpretation of the lines being part of the FOP makes total sense, even when it comes to parts of the foot being on a line during throw-ins.

However, why is it that FIFA and our associations train us differently when it comes to offside at half? The Laws state that a player is not offside if they are in their own half. Following the aforementioned logic on boundary lines, a player should not be considered in an offside position if even part of their body is in their own half.

Though, FIFA, in their training materials, our associations, and mentors/assessors all tell us that the slightest part of 'playable' body that is in the attacking half places the player in an offside position.

This is one of those times where we are trying to interpret the intent of those who wrote this particular law, I guess.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
The LOTG do a decent job trying to maintain the conceptual idea of the field of play and offside. The midline is attached to 2 halves. Given that a PLAYABLE body part off a human being be it the leaning head or leading knee or foot stride is a ...flexible... dynamic where the line is a ...STATIC... dynamic. The obvious inference is one must supersede the other when it comes to a decision about who or what is where. Offside Position is first established as a YES or NO decision. It must be definitive before involvement criteria is looked at, so if a playable body part is past the midline then it is CLOSER to the opposing goal line then its own goal line. OF course then there must be no 2nd last opponent body part left lingering in its own half. lol It does not matter than other body parts are on the other side of the midline closer to their own goal line because those body parts are not included in the judgement.

In the context of Law 11 – Offside, the following definitions apply:
• "nearer to his opponents' goal line" means that any part of a player's head,
body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the
second-last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition.

Perhaps if they rewrote that
It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
• any playable body part is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent playable body parts
A player is not in an offside position if:
• all playable body parts are completely inside his own half of the field
he is in his own half of the field of play or
• he is level with the second-last opponent playable body parts or
• he is level with the last two opponents playable body parts


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
The half way line is unusual in that it is deemed to be part of either half. FIFA has opined that part of the foot/ body must be over the line to be in the opponents half. That is beyond the white of the line. Unlike a throw in it is possible to touch the ball over the line with part of the foot / body on the line which is the reason that offside is called in those very unique and unusual situations.
Again while we know the technical answer the challenge will be its application in a match situation.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

There is no difference in how the boundary lines are defined for offside.

But for purposes of offside the player is considered to be a collection of body parts, not a whole. Any body part that is legal to use in playing the ball is in an offside position if it is beyond the ball, the 2nd to last opponent, and the half line.

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Offside Question?

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

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