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Question Number: 33744

Law 11 - Offside 10/29/2019

RE: Adult

Melvin H. of Colorado Springs, Colorado U S A asks...

I know some of the offside situations are covered in the Offside Explained article mentioned, but if I remember (Cliffs Notes version) there were 11 situations where a player cant be offside (this was before the change in the Laws years ago):
Restart at center spot; goal kick; corner kick; drop ball; throw-in; penalty kick; in your own half; free kick; two or more defenders between you and the goal; on a ball coming out of your half into the offensive half; and if a player is not interfering with the play. Im trying to think if theres another one....

The one that has confused me is what happens when any kick in the defensive half comes over the center line"when is it not offside when a player in their own half passes to a player on the other side of the center line? Please clear that up for me...

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Melvin,
I wonder if perhaps you are over-complicating matters and also potentially coming at this from the wrong direction, and in doing so making this more difficult to understand, than it should be.

Instead of looking at the ways a player can not be offside, I think if you take the approach that the law does, to enumerate only the situations in which a player can be guilty of an offside offence, followed by the named exceptions, that should give you a better understanding of when offside offences are possible. Once you know the specific and exclusive conditions in which a player can be offside, you then know that by default, they cannot be offside in any other conditions.

So to be guilty of an offside offence, a player must be in an offside position (in the opponent's half, closer to the opponent's goal line than the ball and the second last defender) when a team mate touches the ball and then become involved in active play using the definitions given in the law. When those conditions are met, the player is penalised for committing an offside offence. By contrast, any time these conditions are not met, along with the listed exceptions of receiving the ball from a goal kick, throw in, corner kick or a deliberate play by an opponent, then the player is not penalised for offside.

Just to take your last point, let me reiterate what ref McHugh says, that there is nothing in the law on offside regarding an exception for 'a ball coming out of your half into the offensive half.' In such a situation, all the normal offside considerations apply. There's also no exemption for free kicks.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Melvin
Some of the situations in your list are incorrect so I am unsure of the credibility of your source.
Offside DOES apply at free kicks and when the ball is kicked from any location on the field including coming from a players own half.
These would be the situations where offside would not apply.
1. Played by an opponent
2 Restart at center mark;
3 Goal kick;
4 Corner kick;
5 At a drop ball;
6 Throw-in;
7 Penalty kick;
8. In a players own half;
9. Behind the ball ;
10. two or more defenders between the player and the goal line;
11. if a player is not interfering with the play or an opponent.
For a kick off and penalty kick it is not possible to be in an offside position as the referee must ensure players are behind the ball for the restart to be taken. A player cannot be offside from any restart for a ball over a boundary line. If a player is behind the ball or in his own half he is in an onside position so really the ways of being in an offside position are limited to just a few.
Law 11 states
* It is not an offence to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
# any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents half (excluding the halfway line) and
# any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent*

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