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Question Number: 34157

Mechanics 3/13/2021

RE: Pro Adult

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34156

First of all, thank you very much for your answers, and yes, I assumed that VAR system is in use. Even though the assistant referee raised his/her flag, can VAR and the match officials on the pitch contact with each other, discuss about the situation, and when the assistant referee states that the flag was raised for the previous attack, can the head referee allow the goal after the discussion?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Crebs,
A quick answer is YES, even if officials might disagree amongst themselves the CR can make any decision unless it is contrary to law, as it is his match, his decision, his reputation. It is true a MISSED free kick offense by the team scoring is far more likely to result in a no-goal let's go back to that point than a rendered decision to not stop play in a confirmed infraction. However, the impact of a missed offside call can be negated by the fact if the CR is comfortable the defenders had reacquired clear ball control and the goal was not a product of the missed offside he will permit the goal, restart kick-off. If their argument is persuasive perhaps he says no goal, does the window box finger tv diagram and we are indfk out. VAR will point out a MISSED call but they do not usually review a real-time decision based on subjective opinion even if they might point out a thinly veiled warning are you sure? The VAR and AR and 4th are there to assist the CR. CR steps up and takes it on the chin for the match!

The next point though I think my colleagues mentioned it previously, is the mechanics in place to prevent miscommunication. The concept of communication is to relay information then use it to make a decision A discussion after the goal by the officials to ensure it was fairly scored is always a good thing. The deal is you cannot change your mind, once you restart you cannot undo a decision if you were aware of the facts but saw them from a different perspective!

When the AR raises the flag to indicate offside: he is by THAT mechanic, telling the CR, that in his opinion, based on his knowledge, there was a PIOP (player in an offside position) who has now illegally involved in the ongoing play and that an INDFK out is required for that interference.

The FLAG signal is for the CR(center referee) ONLY, it is NOT a decision that ANY player should STOP and POINT and QUIT playing!

UNTIL the CR blows the whistle, indicating play is to be stopped you are LIVE play, Game on! In the mindset of focused players offside does not exist until confirmed, AFTER play is stopped!

ALL final decisions are made by the CR who can wave off the flag should he have reason to believe it is incorrect or unnecessary. With VAR and radio contact it is difficult to imagine the CR would be unaware of the AR flag whereas as we could easily see a flag missed at the recreational level.

Within the advice on the LOTG an AR is instructed to keep the flag up once the decision to raise it is made. The AR is also instructed to DROP the flag if the CR instructs him to so.

Using eye contact, verbal, a wave of the hand, thumbs up the recreational referee could indicate yes I see you but NO we are continuing play, drop the flag.

The rec CR usually does not have the luxury of communication devices like radio, buzzer systems, and TV replay or VAR as a safeguard. So the possibility that a recreational CR might MISS the raised flag entirely is plausible.

If we are viewing an AR holding the offside flag aloft for an offside decision and play is still ongoing. When the flag is not immediately seen by the referee, the AR must maintain the signal until it has been acknowledged or the ball is clearly- in the control of the defending team. If by some chance when the goal is scored the CR looks over and the flag is still up & or the AR is indicating something is wrong by his positioning (ARs are not moving to kick off position UNTIL they confer with CR and share information if they believe something is amiss)

So the only issue we run into is did the PIOP create the situation whereby a goal resulted? The defenders did NOT in effect truly regain uncontested possession where they were clearly in control of the ball?

A keeper has it in his hands and play is permitted to continue, that is SUCH clear control it is doubtful we are reversing the goal to go back to the INDFK that perhaps SHOULD have been awarded earlier.

If the PIOP engineered this bruhaha by chasing a ball (he was already guilty of offside by interfering with play by the touch) now is interfering again by pressuring a defender, in this case, the keeper, who desperately tries to clear it or make a save while outside his PA. That ball squids over to another defender who is being fairly challenged and is shielding the ball he tries to play it back to the keeper who again under pressure kicks it into an opposing player ball deflects over to our former PIOP who makes a nice pass to an onside teammate and they score. At what point was there clear control by the defenders?

So we could hold the opinion, that in the case above, the AR should continue to hold the flag aloft up until the goal is scored as the PIOP illegal actions created the entire mess, and at no time did we accept the defenders held clear possession of the ball where they CLEARLY controlled the situation. The main issue in your scenario is the AR raised the flag then lowered it which means either the CR was AWARE so not a missed decision or the AR accepted the defenders had clear control but later changed his mind once the goal was scored so he thought to discuss it with the CR before play was restarted? You are 100% correct the time to make a change is BEFORE the kick-off restart but that is the CRs' decision!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Offside in interfering with play situations are generally matters of fact. That is shown through the use of the lines on the VAR screen where one line shows the part of the second last opponent nearest to the goal line and the second line shows the part of the player in an offside position that can legally play the ball at the moment of touch / play by a team mate.

Such decisions are generally left in tight offside situations to the VAR official with the AR being advised to keep the flag down until after the goal scoring opportunity has passed. The use of VAR allows for play to continue just in case an AR makes an erroneous call on a tight offside and VAR proves that he was in fact *wrong* to have flagged offside..
There is no need in such situations for *consultation* as they are for the most part a matter of fact rather than opinion.
In this example with VAR the flag should not go up and it can be checked afterwards if VAR is available.

Ultimately all decision are to be made by the referee and he can overrule any flag by waving it down or ignoring it. A late flag or no flag in a VAR situation can be dealt with through VAR. It helps though for the viewing public to see a raised flag for offside as it is then known it is being looked at by VAR for a possible offside.

I recall in a particular semi final an attack by a team and a ball was played through to a PIOP. The kicker followed the ball through and it was *ignored* by the PIOP. The original passer regained the ball and scored. There were then shouts by the defending team that the flag was up for offside which I had missed as I could not see any possible offside with my focus on the actions of the scorer. I went across to the AR and asked him about the flag. He flagged because he thought the PIOP was offside yet I told him that as he did not interfere with play or an opponent it could not be offside so I awarded the goal. When questioned by the conceding team after that I asked them how could it be offside when the passer pushed the ball through, ran on to it and scored himself? That I told them is not offside and they had to agree.
So on VAR matters of fact do not need consultation. Matters of opinion so require that and to solve that the VAR system has a pitch side monitor where the referee can see the incident from multiple angles and in slow motion. The referee crew plus VAR are in radio communication with headsets so any of the team can communicate during that time.

Have a look at the second goal in this video
The referee does not immediately take the offside flag and Man City then score.
So in the VAR system if an AR gets the flag *wrong* and it is confirmed to be in error by VAR, that is the decision that the referee will take, provided of course play has not been stopped.

The fact of the matter is that there was no offside in that Man City goal and play continued as there was no whistle until after the goal. No need for any debate or discussion about it. There was no offside so the goal was good,

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