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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33983

Law 11 - Offside 9/10/2020

RE: Competitive Adult

George of Adelaide , South Australia Australia asks...

I was seeking your opinion on an incident in a recent state league game here the other weekend. I was an AR. But not involved in the action

Following a drive down the mid line of the pitch the player with the ball had reached the top of the penalty box almost directly in front of the goal. He was almost completely surrounded by defenders. There was a Player in an offside position Directly in front and within about three metres of the player with the ball. The player with the ball managed somehow to kick the ball through the defenders straight at the PIOP.

The PIOP knew he was offside and tried to back away from the ball. He put his hands over his head and turned away. However as he did so a defender pushed him over trying to get to the ball. The defender could have sidestepped the PIOP but chose to try to go through him. The PIOP fell with the defender on top and the ball was deflected back from the defender to the original player, who scored.

The centre refereeing allowed the goal to stand which resulted in an altercation that eventually saw one of the team officials shown a red card and two defenders shown yellow cards.

Your thoughts ?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

H George,
I can grasp that the referee felt the PIOP was not at fault of the collision hence play continues. You then say the ball deflected back off the defender who was tangled up with the PIOP so there was no physical ball touch by the PIOP so ONLY interfering with an opponent would be considered . Apparently the referee did consider it as and rejected it The defending team felt different & voiced or acted with objections in such a way as to cause the referee to respond with cards . .

However from the armchair I could see the PIOP as being active in interfering with an opponent, given the the fact the PIOP was in the way of an opponent who had to reroute to avoid him seems he was CLOSE proximity and by his very presence affected active play.

His match his decision his reputation .


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
The test is whether the player in an offside position met any one of the following interfering with an opponent conditions as set out in Law11.
A. preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or  
B challenging an opponent for the ball or
C. clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
D. making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.
Now the LotG goes on to say the following
E. ** A player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent’s progress (e.g. blocks the opponent), the offence should be penalised under Law 12
F ** a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence**
Based on your description I would suggest that the only likely decision is either E or F.
A defender simply cannot knock over any player even a PIOP who is clearly exhibiting no interest in playing the ball or getting involved in play. In which case it is covered under F and as advantage can be played the goal is good.
If the incident is viewed under E then as the player has stood there showing no interest in play and not moved into the path of the defender then there is no offside offence and the goal is good as advantage should be played.
On balance I am not seeing an offside offence here based on the LotG. However it is a judgement call based on the inique circumstances at that time.
I believe that the misconduct was due to a dated knowledge of offside as many years ago this would be called offside simply due to offside position. That is no longer the case as a PIOP has to do a lot more than simply being in an offside position.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi George,
I agree with ref McHugh that this comes down to a judgement call from the referee as to whether to see this as conforming to clause E or F as laid out in his response.

For me it seems like pretty much of a toss-up between the two and I don't think a referee could be considered technically incorrect to have chosen either one.

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

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