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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32399

Law 11 - Offside 4/24/2018

RE: Competitive Under 19

Dave Bermingham of Herndon, Virginia United States asks...

In one of my games this past weekend there was a fast forward playing off the defender's shoulder trying to time runs in behind. At one point she was PIOP just inside the attacking half on the AR side as the ball was passed in behind. The keeper reacted quickly and was coming out such that it looked like she would get to the ball just inside the PA a yard or maybe two before the forward, but they were both at full sprint. There were no other players involved in the play and I was concerned about a collision. Knowing that the PIOP forward does have the right to close down, but not interfere with the keeper, when would you draw the line on raising the flag for offside (10 yds and closing fast, 5yds, only after contact)? Would it help or be inadvisable to tell the PIOP that she was offside in hopes she would then hold up and not clatter the opponent? Assuming the keeper gets the first touch and is then immediately challenged by the forward, has offside reset, or would that still be interfering with an opponent? The FIFA answer is set for professionals, not kids who we want in school come Monday, so there is gray space between the Law and the practical game.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dave,
practical application of the LOTG would definitely include an early flag for a possible collision. Safety above all else for the players is more important than adhering to strict protocols. It becomes a bit more difficult when there are PIOP and onside players vying for ball possession but in cases where a single restricted player is headed in on a ball full steam let the air out of those tires ahead of the possible impact! It might seem to be a good idea to warn players but tactically it is unfair to not remain neutral.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
In the situation where there is a lone attacker in an offside position and there is porential for collision then in my opinion the offside flag has to be raised to prevent that at every level.
Quite obviously that is a judgement call for the AR and each situation has to be judged in its merits. Clearly what we do not want is a full collision perhaps resulting in a foul by the goalkeeper with the potential for injury and the flag then goes up for offside. On the other hand we do not want a flag going up with the ball cleared easily with no pressure on the kicker.
My advice is to err on the side of caution and raise the flag if there is a hint of possible contact. That is a better scenario than reckless / serious foul play by or on the GK and an offside IDFK restart.
As to some of your other thoughts an AR should not shout or speak to inform a player about offside position. It is either offside or not and it is up to the player to judge that not through advice
As to playing the ball first the AR has to opine whether the PIOP has interfered in that play. Based on the risk scenario sometimes we have to make a call on this based on the way that play unfolds with no danger yet still interfering. If the PIOP has got to within a few yards of the kicker with limited movement which causes the kicker to hurry then clearly that is interfering with an opponent.
As to the Pro game I just watched German officials in the CL game of Liverpool v Roma and ARs flagged the lone PIOP in most situations that imo were questionable from an interfering perspective. Some PIOP were yards away from defenders and not interfering yet called early. So clearly they were not too concerned about the minutiae of Law 11.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dave,
You say that 'there were no other players involved in the play.' If so, you don't need to wait until there is the prospect of a collision. There is a clause in the 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials' section of the Laws that is applicable here and which states that:

''A player in an offside position may be penalised before playing or touching the ball, if, in the opinion of the referee, no other team-mate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball.''

If there are other team mates of the PIOP in the frame, you might have to delay things slightly but even then I would say you should still call the offside before any collision becomes possible.

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Offside Question?

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

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