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: 29845

Law 11 - Offside 10/22/2015

RE: High School

John Cardoza of Madrid, N.Y. USA asks...

In a game played under National Federation High School rules a defender makes an attempt to clear a through ball. His attempt is misplayed to an opponent who is an offside position. Offside?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
The use of the word misplayed invokes divergent possibilities. We do not generally reward mistakes by the defenders if they deliberately play a ball that goes to an PIOP opponent provided the PIOP had no part in challenging. The PIOP is then free to play that ball.

However, a ball that is considered to be deflected or classified as a deliberate save will NOT reset offside and the INDFK out will apply if there is involvement!

The NHSF has recently undertaken to bring offside interpretation in line with FIFA to standardize the understanding and interpretation of the criteria we judge by. I do not think they have as of yet directly stated their interpretation has changed but FIFA interpretations are as follows

If the action taken was a deliberate play then there ....NO.... offside is possible. The Offside restriction was lifted and the former PIOPs are ok to play the free ball.

What is slightly confusing is this next bit where a ... deliberate save treated the SAME as a ...deflection... Not in the action, as a deflection is NOT deliberate, but in the application of the LOTG where an opponent is guilty of gaining an advantage if he plays the ball after the Deliberate Save or Deflection occurs.
If the action taken was a deliberate play but it was taken to SAVE a goal then OFFSIDE if a PIOP gets involved!
If the action was ITOOTR a deflection or rebound there again OFFSIDE if a PIOP gets involved!

Key point is ITOOTR!
Next point? understanding the difference between the BALL hitting the player or the PLAYER hitting the Ball to determine if the play was DELIBERATE or was it a DEFLECTION?

Think on it rather like how a referee might judge the foul of (handles the ball deliberately) In what is often referred to incorrectly as a Handball, true deliberate handling is judged as whether the ball simply IMPACTS against the player as an accident or did he DELIBERATELY move, so the ARM deliberately impacted the ball?

A deliberate play is based on the opinion of the referee whether the player make a clear challenge that was not impacted by any PIOP (player in an offside position) nearby. The concept of clear control is no longer part of our judgement. The opposition PIOPS are permitted to capitalize on a mistake. Provided they themselves or another PIOP nearby clearly did not impact the ability of the opponent to get to, see or challenge for the ball

What criteria can we use to determine a deliberate play from an impact creating a deflection or a rebound?

�DISTANCE: How far away is the ball? ?
�FLIGHT PATH: Is the ball's speed, direction, or angle altered on its way towards the player?
�SPEED: How fast is that ball moving?
�SPACE: is there room to react?
�TIME: Is there time to prepare?
�IMPACT: Does the ball strike the player, without the player being aware or time to react?

An impact is NOT deliberately playing the ball, nor a mistake, it is either

{a} rebound which is a ball that bounces back after impacting a hard surface or
{b} deflection which is a ball that alters it trajectory or being caused to change direction upon impact.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
The decision rests on whether the contact by the defender was a deflection or a rebound or a save or a misplay. If the ball is misplayed then that has reset the offside and the player receiving the ball is onside.
If on the other hand the ball deflects off the defender or is a save then the offside will be called for gaining an advantage by being in that position.
A ball is deemed to have been deliberately played...
a) if the defender makes a clear movement towards the ball
b) even if the ball is unsuccessfully played - the quality does not matter it is the intention that counts.
Here is an offside that was incorrectly called
The defender deliberately played the ball resetting the offside.
Now compare that with the ball coming of the defender in this video
That is a clear deflection and offside is the correct call.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


Under NFHS rules, if the ball was last played by an opponent as is the case here, the player that received the ball should not be called offside. This is covered in 11.1.3 Situation E that indicates that a player cannot be offside when the ball was last played by an opponent.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 29845
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 29857

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! <>