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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000


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Question Number: 33955

Mechanics 7/4/2020

RE: Professional

Fidel Jaary of Auckland, Auckland New Zealand asks...

Hi There,

Does the referee need to keep his hand raised when an offside happens, and the ball played and touched by another player, i had seen some referees do raise their hands to indicate an offside and then drop it.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fidel,
To be precise, the referee does not raise the arm to indicate offside - the referee raises the arm to indicate that a free kick is indirect. IFK's are awarded for a number of different offences, not just for offside offences and the referee must raise the arm for all of them.

When an indirect free kick is awarded (including when it is for an offside offence) Law 13 states that:

"The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising the arm above the head: this signal is maintained until the kick has been taken and the ball touches another player, goes out of play or it is clear that a goal cannot be scored directly."

So the referee does not need to maintain the indirect free kick signal until the ball touches another player, they can lower the arm as soon as it is clear a goal cannot be scored directly (which sometimes will be as soon as the kick is taken) or the ball goes out of play.



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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fidel
The raised arm signal is used to indicate an indirect free kick just before the kick is taken.
On offside in the past the advice was to keep the arm raised until it touched another player after the free kick was taken.
That really made little sense in the majority of cases so the Law was amended recently to its current wording which now allows for the referee to drop his arm when it is clear that a goal cannot be scored directly.
So let us say on an offside IDFK and the ball is destined to drop well short of the penalty area then the arm is dropped. Most referees will be well able to judge the drop area of the ball.
I would also say that in all my years of playing and refereeing I never once saw an offside IDFK come close to scoring directly and even if that was the case how many players involved in play are watching the referee for a continued signal. They will see it before the kick and then focus on play.
So the advice is to that the arm must be kept up until after the kick is taken and as outlined by Referee Grove.
Finally at a free kick close to goal it is a vital signal and I would keep it up until after the goal is scored or it has touched another player or it goes wide. As there is a chance of a goal being scored directly it is vital that there is no confusion about the arm signal.
I hope that helps





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