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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30370

Law 11 - Offside 4/30/2016

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30362

I think the link on your home page to the offside explanation seems accurate...although complex. Wish there were an easier way to describe it. Parents usually ask me to explain the offside rule after a game & there's no simple way.

As far as control by the defender, clearly that would reset offside. But it seems that deliberate play would encompass more than just control. Clearly a bad clearance by a defender would reset offside.

But suppose that attackers cross the ball & a defender makes an unsuccessful stab at stopping or deflecting the ball. At the pro level, it would probably reset offside, unless the ball were so close &/or fast that it was a deflection. With little ones, it's questionable whether to call it deliberate, but it certainly is not controlled. Very gray area.

Thanks for all your comments.

Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


Yep, it is a bit *complex*. As far as control by defender is concerned, it really rests with 'in the opinion of he referee'. He or she decides if the ball was *controlled* or merely deflected.
At very young age, offside is not even enforced. By age 10 or 11 it enters the game and clearly the kids are starting to get the hang of it. To me, if a defender kicks the ball clumsily and ends up on the offside goalscorers foot, it is NOT offside and goal counts. Sure enough he did not *control* very well, in fact very badly, but he did *control* the ball. You say *clearance*. Come on Phil, that is *control*! If its a bad one, it was still controlled....
I use an oversimplified explanation for offside: Active or passive. Of course you have to know when you CANNOT be offside like goal kick, your half of the field, behind the ball etc.

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

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