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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32413

Law 11 - Offside 4/30/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Jeffrey Atkins of Morristown, Tennessee United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32399

I agree with all of the answers given by the panel, but was the forward not already involved in play by interfering with the goalkeeper?

Dave said 'the keeper reacted quickly' and described both players as 'at full sprint.'

It seems to me that the forward's actions have caused the GK to sprint to get to a ball that she would likely have been more casual about with no pressing opponent.

As an AR in these situations, I always raise the flag in order to prevent the collision, and as CR I ask my AR's to do the same in my pre-game. I have always used the above rationale as justification.

What sayeth the panel?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeffrey
Running towards the ball is not interfering with an opponent.
Put it this way say that there was onside and offside positioned players running towards the ball what do we do?
Page 196 of the current Law book tells us
** An attacker in an offside position (A) runs towards the ball and a team-mate in an onside position (B) also runs towards the ball and plays it. (A) did not touch the ball, so cannot be penalised.**
That page also tells us
** A player in an offside position (A) 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.**
So the answers we gave are good and as I said it is a judgement call.
I watched a Premier League game at the weekend and I watched a very senior AR flag a PIOP for offside on a ball that was destined for a throw in. The flag was given on the basis of the exemption yet it was not offside.
For what it is worth I think that the exemption has been and continues to be abused. I would rather see that clause be removed and only call offside when the interference happens by touching the ball or interfering with an opponent.
I have delayed flags as much as I can on the basis that if the ball goes out for a goal kick, throw in that is what we give or that the ball ends up being played away with no interference.
In a Cup Final at the weekend I had to overrule my AR on an early flag of a PIOP moving towards the ball. The player who played the ball followed up and played the ball himself to score so it could not be offside. Had the exemption not been there the flag would not have gone up which caused a problem for the game.
For what its worth I believe too many ARs take the early flag exemption too far almost back to the days of flagging for offside position on the PIOP. That does not help the game as to where it is in moving on to which is a less offside focussed culture.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jeffery,
it does seem oxymorish to think a PIOP in TRYING to get to the ball is not actually involved but it is why we are MOST often told to WAIT for a physical touch or CLEAR situation where the opponent interfered with in their opportunity to get to that ball.

In cases where the ONLY person in pursuit of the ball is a PIOP AND there is ZERO chance of the ball going into touch the LOTG have provided a contradictory solution where no interference & no contact have yet occurred. I am in agreement with my colleague Ref McHugh this should be removed from the considerations because it promotes too early flags in many cases.

In a recent match I watched an onside player shoot the ball from outside the 18 yard PA. It was great shot, top corner, keeper beaten, but the AR flags for offside as the PIOP running in at the corner jumps and tries to head the ball already entering into the goal. The PIOP by his actions in trying to score activated the flag yet the ball was already completely under the crossbar between the posts over the goal line when the PIP actually made contact.

The issue is there was NO DOUBT he was a PIOP but the timing of his ball contact? Was the ball completely over the goal line thus a legal goal BEFORE the PIOP touched said ball? In this case yes! . I awarded the goal.
I watched similar incident n TV where Ronaldo had a good goal taken away by the AR failing to watch the ball instead of the PIOP.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jeffrey,
To be involved in active play, a PIOP must either touch the ball or interfere with an opponent. The player here did not touch the ball so that leaves interfering with an opponent. The definitions of this are given in the Laws document. These are:

''preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or
challenging an opponent for the ball or
clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball''

A player who is running towards the ball and is not yet close to either the ball or the opponent (in this case the goalkeeper) has not fulfilled any of these conditions and so is not yet involved in active play.

One way to summarise 'interfering with an opponent' is that the PIOP must do something that clearly and directly affects the opponent's ability to play the ball - simply having a potential influence on an opponent (from a distance) in a way that might arguably cause them to take a different course of action than they might otherwise have done, is not an offside offence.

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