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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33933

Law 18 - Common Sense 4/21/2020

RE: Under 19

brett of hattiesburg, ms usa asks...

what about a player who is fouled but stays up, you may give advantage to, but then quickly passes to player in offside position and AR signals offside? Without having given the advantage signal yet, you would just go back and give the foul even with the offside offense?

Conversely, even though technically you shouldn't call back an advantage call, would the decision change if you call advantage and a split second later he passes to PIOP?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Brett,

For me offside is not awarded ! I feel it best to return to the the free kick based primarily on your statement of (then quickly passes to player in offside position.) A matter of (timing) and was there any advantage to be squandered?

I COULD see where a referee seeing the pass going to the OPEN player was OK thinking to say,'PLAY ON!' but then to see the pop up flag by the AR, he curses his too quick assessment of the situation . That said a referee can still award the foul as the RIGHT thing to do.
This is a basic 101 fairness question.
The FOUL occurs by a defender unfairly trying to stop the attack.
Possible card misconduct is also a consideration along with the guarantee of a free kick , possibly in a decent scoring position, .
The referee, THINKING, that perhaps by allowing play to continue, a better OUTCOME for the disadvantaged team than to stop play & award the free kick could yet occur. .
This is why when I taught advantage I suggested it was a good idea to YELL out the word 'ADVANTAGE!' and signal with the arm sweep.
This was to ensure NO retaliation in response to the foul by players mistakenly thinking the referee missed the foul.
We then, WATCH, to see if indeed things break well for the disadvantaged team and if we are confident it, IS, better to allow play rather than go back to the free kick we DROP the arm signal and then yell, PLAY ON!
If in this time between the foul occurring and before yelling, 'play on!' The player passed off the ball to an offside teammate we WOULD go back to the foul as it is NOT advantageous to gift the other team the ball on the offside.

While we do not reward poor play or a mistake the FOUL is a HARSH blight so that offside giveaway must be well after the effect of that foul. There is more to advantage than just keeping possession an immediate offside pass is NOT advantageous .

However if say the ball was recovered and then dribbled into open space for a shot at goal or a cross several seconds later but was mistakenly intercepted or passed off to an offside teammate we give the offside INDFK out . AS it is the next stoppage if the foul had misconduct attached you would show the card.

Mind you under certain conditions we DO play another type of advantage which is to avoid a too quick whistle taking away a possible advantage or goal scoring opportunity, We DELAY the whistle for a favorable outcome with no actual verbal or arm signals shown, More like wait and see near or inside the PA . The advantage the silent advantage has is you have not said (PLAY ON!) this conflict is not there!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brett,
The law says that the referee:

''allows play to continue when an offence occurs and the non-offending team will benefit from the advantage, and penalises the offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time or within a few seconds''

In the scenario you describe, while I suppose it depends on what you define as ''a few seconds,'' when you say the player ''quickly passes'' the ball to a player who is immediately flagged for offside, it certainly sounds to me like it would be within the time window for a referee to go back and penalise the original offence.

Let me just point out that the law doesn't say anything about ''calling'' the advantage or not being allowed to go back if you do, it just says that the referee can go back within a few seconds if the advantage doesn't accrue as expected. So I don't think you can say you ''technically'' shouldn't do it but I agree there is a general perception that once the referee has made it clear to everyone by word or signal that they are applying the advantage rule, it's unusual to then go back, which is where ref McHugh's point about the referee allowing a little time to wait and see, comes to the fore.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brett
Thanks for the question.
The Laws allow for an offence to be penalised if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time or within a few seconds which can be up to 3/5 which if one counts out the time can be a long term in the context of play in a soccer match.
So in your example the referee would be perfectly entitled to go back to the offence and award the free kick.
Now it comes back here to referee mechanics. The referee can give himself a little *wait and see* time to evaluate what is happening or likely to accrue, then signal advantage. Even after that he can still go back to the foul within the few seconds which can add up to 5/6 seconds quite easily.
In reality there maybe was no real advantage given that one attacker was in an offside position so he was excluded from participating in play and therefore once the flagged the referee can determine that he tried to allow advantage yet it was not possible.
Another way to look at this is that let us say that there was a clear foul and the ball was immediately played to a team mate in a clear offside the referee would have no hesitation in calling the foul.
If however there was a foul and advantage was played with the fouled player running on and play continuing for a period there would be no chance of going back. There is a period between both situations where it is a bit grey yet my advice is to go with the foul in doubtful situations.
Have a look at this decision
The referee was perfectly entitled to call the foul and bring play back to the offence. The offence happened at 0.08 secs and the whistle blew at 0.12 seconds some 4 seconds later which is within the understood time window. Say the AR waited to flag the attacker who slipped for offside at 0.12 then again the referee would be perfectly entitled to bring it back to the point of the foul.

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