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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34118

Law 11 - Offside 2/4/2021

RE: Pro Adult

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34117

Hello again and thank you very much for your answers. Actually I was more about the APP (attacking phase of play) concept in VAR protocol but I guess, offside rule show some similarity to it. I think, interfering with the defender is the key point in this regard and as far as I understand, the concept of "interfering with the opponent" is something subjective. Am I right?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Crebs,
while it will ALWAYS be in the opinion of the referee, using the information and definitions taught by the IFAB and FIFA and national associations to confirm if there is reason to stop play or reaffirm allowing play to continue.

The technical aspects of VAR tracks play and could notice a missed call or a non-call plus they're attuned to the when and how offside restrictions are lifted. VAR has the significant advantage of rewind, review, and freeze-frame 3D imagery to determine to the thousandth of an inch if a player is eligible to attack or restricted. To the exact micto second when the player actually touched the ball and what actions the opposition was engaged in at the time it occurs. There is a necessity to get the correct information down to the field officials in a timely manner. If the event has no drastic or dramatic effect and plays is allowed to continue that is acceptable If there is a question a law was violated or some sort of unfairness, given on-field officials are told when in doubt to LET play continue, the VAR review is explored only after the play is stopped. If Var picks up or was aware there is a reason to restart for something that occurred prior, as play is not yet restarted, it CAN be rectified.

There are only 3 stages of play that could allow an offside restricted player (ORP) to rejoin active play.
One - a NEW teammate's touch of the ball
(1) Condition one requires the former offside restricted player to no longer be in an offside position when this new touch occurs. Offside reset occurs at ANY teammate touch of the ball deliberately or accidental creating a NEW phase of play with a new freeze-frame snapshot of the new positioning of the players on the field

Two - opposing player deliberately plays the ball while not being challenged or interfered with by an offside player
(2) Condition two must simply occur, offside position is not part of the equation because condition one no longer applies. The former restricted offside player can legally contest ball possession if his opponents have deliberately touched/played the ball, this frees the previously restricted offside position attacker who is no longer, gaining an advantage, to rejoin active play no matter their position on the field

There are 3 exceptions pertaining to gaining an advantage
If the opponent/defender touch of the ball is deemed in the opinion of the officials to be a
(a) - rebound = a ball that bounces back after impacting a hard surface
(b) - deflection = a ball that alters it trajectory or being caused to change direction upon impact
(c) - deliberate save = a ball played with a conscious decision and realization of the consequences of action but is done preventing a goal
These conditions WILL NOT RESET nor change an attacking opponents' restricted offside status! Neither does it alter or change an attacking opponent's ONSIDE status.
A missed kick or poor header is more often a MISTAKE made when choosing to deliberately play the ball!

We do not award offside for a mistake if it was a DELIBERATE PLAY!

However, the position or movement of the defender's feet or head apparently trying to re-act does not necessarily mean the ball was deliberately played!

What determines if a mistake is a deliberate play or was it a deflection or a rebound? We hold that when the ball comes to the player, no player will ever get out of the way and let the ball go by, there will always be a motion by the player as that is an instinctive movement. The question is whether it is an action or a reaction.

#DISTANCE: How far away is the ball?
#FLIGHT PATH: Is the ball's direction, or angle altered on its way towards the player?
#SPEED: How fast is that ball moving?
#SPACE: is there room to react?
#TIME: Is there time to prepare?
#IMPACT: Does the ball strike the player, without the player being aware or time to react?

An impact is NOT deliberately playing the ball, nor a mistake, it is either

#{a} rebound which is a ball that bounces back after striking a hard surface or

#{b} deflection which is a ball that alters its trajectory or being caused to change direction upon impact

Three - the ball goes out of play
(3) Condition three requires a restart of play!
Three restarts are free from any offside criteria by either team (Throw-in, Corner kick, Goal kick) where the position is NOT a factor at the moment of the kick
A NEW positional offside evaluation will occur ONLY from the team taking the kick be it INDFK or DFK as there is a new touch of the ball by the attacking team/or teammates. The opponents are exempt because condition two now applies!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
The Laws of the Game set out what is interfering with an opponent in Law 11
# preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
# challenging an opponent for the ball or
# clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
# making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.
As you can see all are immediate events yet the interpretation can be subjective.
Most in the game do not have to concern themselves with VAR as it is only used by the elite game. VAR has its own distinct guidelines which are always being reviewed as it is still in its infancy.
The Laws of the game tells us that it may be necessary to review the attacking phase of play which led directly to the decision/incident and this may include how the attacking team gained possession of the ball in open play.
However there are 4 potential starting points for the review:
# when and how the attacking team last gained possession of the ball
# the start of the attacking move which directly ended in the goal/penalty incident
# when the ball entered the defending team’s half of the field of play
# a maximum period of time prior to the incident,
Offside by its nature tends to be in the attacking third and if a PIOP gains control of the ball to set up an immediate attack then that will be called on review if missed by an AR.
Defining the point at which other ‘attacking phases' start will be subjective but should according to IFAB include
# the point at which the attacking team advanced with the ball towards their opponents’ penalty area and,
# if the attacking team has a long period of ‘keep ball’ possession, the point at which they either cross the halfway line (for ‘keep ball’ in their own half)
# or, if ‘keep ball’ is in their opponents’ half, the point at which a clear forward/attacking phase of play starts.
In reality a missed offside usually results in a fairly immediate attacking phase of play. In the Mings Villa v Man City incident the offside non call resulted in an immediate attack so that was reviewable. The question in that scenario was did the PIOP interfere with an opponent and the officials decided that under Law 11 that he did not. It is subjective although I still contend that Mings' deliberate play of the ball was a reset. That can be seen by others as a challenge by a PIOP and PGMOL has tried to bring some clarity to that.
In the grassroots game without VAR I would say that a challenge by a PIOP even slightly delayed gets called for offside every time as without VAR it will look like an immediate challenge rather than a defender deliberately playing the ball to a PIOP and then a challenge.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Crebs,
I didn't get a chance to answer your earlier question as I was traveling that day but I see ref McHugh had already addressed your query about attacking phase possession fairly comprehensively.

However since your question also talked about "bad control" by a defender, let me just flag up one additional part of the protocol that seems directly applicable.

It goes as follows:

"'attacking phase possession (APP)’ will require the referee (assisted by the VAR) to determine:
• the point at which the attacking team gained possession of the ball and then
• the point at which the phase of play that led to the goal/penalty incident started

‘gaining possession’
The attacking team will be considered to have gained possession when they:
• take a restart or
• take possession of the ball from ‘open play’ (when neither team has possession) or
• take possession of the ball when it is ‘lost’ by the opponents (e.g. poor pass, clearance   
etc.) or
• gain possession as a result of a challenge for the ball with an opponent"

So to answer your original question, the protocol indicates that taking possession of the ball after a mistake by the opposing team would indeed begin a new attacking phase.

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