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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33916

Law 11 - Offside 3/10/2020

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter Babbage of Hjorring , Denmark asks...

Not so much about a specific law but advice given to top level referees. An incident in the recent Manchester derby had me thinking. Sergio Aguero is played through on goal. Initially he looks offside to me . The assistant raises his flag and I believe the referee Dean blew his whistle. Aguero like strikers do went on and put the ball in the net with the United players, the keeper included stopping when hearing the whistle. Now in pre-VAR days that would have been it and the decision would be debated by the experts later. Now this went for review and i5 showed that the United full back Williams may have played Aguero onside. Personally when I saw the lines plotted on the tv screen I was far from convinced he was offside. So however, my point is now that these marginal offsides are likely to be reviewed, are top level refs not advised to hold back blowing the whistle until the ball goes dead? Surely it would be a tricky situation if he blows, the defenders all stop and then VAR shows the attacker to have been onside.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Pete , you are pretty much spot on in cases where it's close or not completely obvious you allow play and talk later. I agree it SUCKS for early whistles to kill play for no reason other than uncertainty. Offside like any stoppage you need to be sure !

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
With VAR both assistant and referee are advised to do nothing on a tight offside involving a goal scoring opportunity in case the AR is incorrect on the call.
In the Aguero incident the proper mechanics would have been no flag, no whistle and the offside reviewed on VAR. If it was shown that it was in fact offside the goal would be overruled and the restart would be an IDFK.
If on the other hand the player is onside the goal is awarded.
In this Aguero incident Referee Mike Dean did not whistle yet AR Darren Cann did raise his flag *early*. If the offside was not present then the goal would have been awarded and a VAR controversy would have ensued. Players are told from an early age to play to the whistle. DeGea did not heed that and relied on the offside flag.
Perhaps AR Darren Cann who is highly experienced having officiated at the highest level including a WC final trusted his judgement yet it was shown to be very tight and not one that he could have been 100% sure of as demonstrated on the VAR still image.
Perhaps in recent times he has been not exposed to VAR and he reverted to type with the *early* flag? Maybe after a lifetime of offside flags it is difficult to hold back yet that is what I believe he should have done given the tightness of the call. It went to VAR which also tells us that the referee did not stop play with a whistle.
It worked out okay yet it could have easily gone pear shaped.

The relevant sections of VAR

** Where a goal is about to be scored and an offside flag has been raised, delaying the whistle may create the opportunity for a wrongly signaled offside goal to be allowed, if the goal is scored before the referee blows the whistle**
**ARs must ALWAYS MAKE A DECISION–there is no option to say *I don’t know so I will look at the video*. However, if a player is within the penalty area and about to score and there is real doubt about offside (position or offence ) delaying the flag signal may prevent a major error which cannot be corrected if play has been stopped.**

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Offside Question?

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

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