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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33912

Law 11 - Offside 3/6/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33910

Really appreciate all the technical details in the latest response on this topic.

The FIFA clip is an 'oldie but a goodie' on deliberate play, and, the reminder of the definition of a 'save' is handy.

I'm just a grass roots level guy trying to see what falls on either side of the 'fine lines' that can exist at times.

I'll admit that the 'Save' aspect in this particular incident sits better with me then the 'not a deliberate play' aspect.

Call me stupid, but generally speaking, I feel anyone that puts or moves any part of their body in a manner to nullify an opponents play of the ball (either before or after the opponents plays the ball) - has done so deliberately.

That said, I will bow to those more learned and experienced then myself, and as always - store it away in the knowledge back to call on.

The 'Save' aspect does raise another query - how far away from goal does it need to be until it is no longer 'close' to be considered a 'save'? Leave that can of worms for another day !

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
As you know the key phrase is *In the opinion of the referee*
We could put 100 referees in a room to show them this video and they will not all agree. Some will see it as a deflection, others a save and some a deliberate play. IFAB has not given any real guidance. The closest we have is on deliberate which is *an action which the player intended/meant to make; it is not a reflex or unintended reaction *
IFAB tells us that a *save* is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).
Again it is a judgement call and Maguires action could certainly be in the save category.
For me there is no *correct* answer in this scenario. If the ball hit the Everton player it would certainly be offside. Outside of that it is one of interpretation. I personally would rule out the Maguire contact as it can be a deflection or a save and the it is left to interfering with an opponent which is a judgement call. From what I seen I did not believe that deGea was interfered with by the player on the ground or his movement. Others have said he should not have been there and may have interfered with the GK.
At grassroots I think I would be leaning towards offside as there is a possibility of same. Without VAR a referee is probably seeing a player right in front of the goalkeeper in a clear offside position. Perhaps if there is a neutral assistant who does not flag for offside then goal.
Here is one without VAR that was ruled offsde a number of years ago
Not offside yet in real time what way would it have looked? Easy on review yet not at speed.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
It's always interesting to hear your views on the law, you're obviously someone who considers these things carefully and logically. For what it's worth, when it comes down to the 'fine lines' of interpretation of the intent of the laws I'd say we are all fairly much just working off our own opinions, since the IFAB does not give sufficiently detailed guidance, in many cases. So long as your interpretation doesn't violate some clear principle or provision of the laws, it's probably just as valid as any of ours.

So this is just my personal opinion but I think it's a bit too extreme an interpretation to say that any time a player 'puts or moves any part of their body in a manner to nullify an opponents play of the ball' it is necessarily a deliberate play of the ball. Movements can be totally instinctive, which means by definition they are involuntary and therefore not deliberate, yet still negate an opponent's play. Especially if the ball is hit with such speed and from a short distance away that the player does not have time to make a conscious, deliberate decision.

As to how close to the goal a save has to be, I don't think it's a question of how close to the goal it is when the save occurs, it's a question of how close to the goal, the ball was going to go. Again, by using slightly vague language on this I think the IFAB is leaving it to to the referee (as they so often do) to make their own judgement, based on the following principle stated in Law 5.

''Decisions will be made to the best of the referee's ability according to the Laws of the Game and the 'spirit of the game' and will be based on the opinion of the referee, who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game.''

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