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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34083

Law 11 - Offside 12/15/2020

RE: Adult

Tony Woods of Surbiton , Surrey UK asks...

NCO are playing STP,the ball was taken up the pitch by NCO player and he was tackled but was sent to the ground, he was still laying down in front of the goalkeeper but behind the last STP player when the NCO kicked for goal, does that mean the NCO player laying down was off side.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tony ,
offside does not differentiate if either the POSITION or the INVOLVEMENT portion is deliberate or accidental. The location of the attacker at the time of the team mates kick or touch of the ball dictates the position. If offside positioned, that attacker is not permitted to be part of active play until or unless reset occurs freeing him from the restriction.

Even if a PIOP shows us by his actions that he realizes hey I know I am offside and
(a1) tries to get out of the way but FAILS to do so and the ball barely touches him or as he struggles to get out of the way, he inadvertently trips or blocks an opponent from being able to play that ball. It would be enough to award the INDFK out for all offside criteria is met.

(a2)It is the same story for a downed PIOP unaware he is offside not trying to do anything but the ball barely touches him or he inadvertently trips or blocks an opponent from being able to play that ball. It would be enough to award the INDFK out for all offside criteria is met .

I recall an offside attacker deliberately trying to involve himself, who vigorously pursued the ball into the goal running full out . Our PIOP attacker lunged and deliberately tried to kick the ball into the goal, while inside the 6 yard goal area, near the post, but the ball kind of bobbled and hopped over his foot by inches and rolled on into the goal.

The fact he was trying & if he had touched the ball it would nullity that goal did not change that he interfered with no opponent. The keeper was on the opposite side of the goal sprawled trying to make that save nor did the PIOP interfere with play because he DID NOT touch that ball and thus no advantage was possible because if we removed him from the play, erased him from the pitch as it where, it unfolded exactly the same, the initial shot would have scored.

The conundrum here is if our PIOP had been pursuing the ball as the only attacker with a chance, given he was likely to reach said ball before it exited the FOP an AR could raise the flag, unaware he was going to miss it when he tried to kick it. The fact the shot was directed at the goal with enough power to score, it is reasonable to withhold the flag to await a 100% outcome rather than a possible one! Where as if that ball was headed to the corner for a cross the flag might go up early given it could look like he would get there before the ball exited the FOP. It is why ARS are instructed WAIT and see.

In a another example the PIOP was on the ground in front of goal after a rebound sent the ball back out, a team mate on the follow up, shot the ball right at him as he was trying to get to his feet, he arched his back and the ball sailed by just grazing him ever so slightly. INDFK out despite he made no attempt to play it and that shot would have scored even if it did not graze him. Yes we can say if we remove him nothing would have changed in the goal would still have scored but the touch is a change. Same as if in trying to get out of the way if he blocked the keeper or defender from getting there to possibly save. The KEY, there has to be a chance to do so! A PIOP on the right side of goal while a team mate hammers a hard shot to top left corner and a defender falls over him trying to get by can not claim the PIOP interfered unless the PIOP truly fouled the defender prior to the ball entering the goal by some deliberate action, grab, trip etc.. but that would be a DFK out.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
The opening line of Law 11 tells us that it is not an offence to be in an offside position. The player in that position has to do something more either by interfering with play by touching or playing the ball or interfering with an opponent in the ways listed in Law 11.
So the answer depends on whether the NCO player who is lying on ground in an offside position interfered with an opponent in this case the goalkeeper.
If the ball was to touch the player in an offside position on the ground it would be indeed be offside for interfering with play by touching the ball. However it is a judgement call by the officials whether the PIOP interferes with an opponent. It is certainly not a line of sight offside nor a challenge for the ball offside or attempting to play the ball offside so the options for offside are limited.
Generally I could not see this as offside except in the unusual situation where the movement of the goalkeeper is compromised if say he had to step over or around the PIOP on the ground or he had to change his natural movement to avoid the player such as not being able to dive for the ball because the PIOP is in the way.
If all the PIOP has done is to lay on the ground away from any opponent and not *interfering* then it is not offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tony,
What you have to bear in mind here, is that offside is a two part offence. So you can't just ask a single-part question, "Was the player offside?" You have to ask - firstly, was the player in an offside position and secondly did the player commit an offside offence?

As described, this player certainly seems to have been in an offside position but there's not really enough information to tell us if they committed an offside offence.

As ref McHugh says, if all they were doing was lying motionless in the ground, then they probably didn't interfere with the goal keeper's line of sight. So unless they somehow physically affected the keeper's ability to play the ball, then they probably didn't commit an offside offence under the heading of interfering with an opponent.

If somehow the goalie was physically impeded by the player in an offside position, then that would constitute an offside offence.

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

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