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Question Number: 34167

Law 11 - Offside 3/22/2021

RE: Select Under 13

Troy Thompson of Greer, SC USA asks...

Our opponents recorded their game where I have a question regarding an offside penalty (much easier than explaining). If you can skip to 24:25 and help me explain why this was ruled an offside penalty, I would appreciate it. I assume it's because the goal keeper made the save, but I'm not certain. I believe the goal scorer (19) was in an onside position when the initial shot was taken.

Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi, Troy,
had a look, I 100% agree with your assessment, the scorer appeared to be onside at the time of the shot. Thus he was ALWAYS free to go ahead and play the ball whether the keeper touched it or not. There was no restriction! It was, in my opinion, the wrong call! Should have been restart kick-off, good goal! So as to why or what the AR or CR was thinking I cannot answer. I can say I was unimpressed with the referee's positional play frequently well away from the action, he seemed a bit too lackadaisical. I did not notice the CR or AR in contact or if the flag was up or down? Perhaps the AR lost focus at that critical moment and missed the positional freezeframe moment?

The initial attempt to score by his teammate clearly shows the eventual attacker who did score to be onside at that critical evaluation moment of ball-to-foot contact. In the subsequent follow-up and cashing in on the rebound the attacker had advanced into an offside position behind the 2nd last opponent but our attacker was under no restrictions because he was NOT in that position when his teammate last played the ball.
Under the LOTG a keeper save will not reset offside restrictions or a rebound will not reset offside restrictions, any restricted PIOP would be guilty of gaining an advantage and offside INDFK out would be the correct call, but neither do they change nor reset any onside allowances for the non-restricted players either. They are good to go and score!

There were several suspect handling fouls that I thought accidental but it looked as if the teams were fairly even. Fortunately, you received a gift only a minute or two before on a free kick awarded at 22.39 for a non-existent tripping foul which you did score from. lol Fortunes of war! You might have noticed that your attackers out in front of the keeper creating the circumstances where he mishandled the ball were not called offside because they were onside when the free-kick started the ball on its way towards goal. They moved in behind the 2nd last opponent while the ball was moving in the air! As they are NOT restricted there is no interfering with the opponent!

Your dribbler played the ball well out in front of him giving the defender time to perform a well-timed tackle which knocked/ trapped the ball away and THEN the dribbler fell over the defender and the ball, the defender did not trip your player. You were lucky the referee thought otherwise. I heard a spectator later trying to reassure the defender yelling it was a great tackle and, in my opinion, it was! I suspect the yellow card was for dissent at the kick-off. Hard to keep your tongue from wagging when you are upset! REF is right even if wrong! Need to agree to disagree and move on. Try to have fun even if the parents are arguing along the touchlines lol


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Troy,
With the benefit of a video clip that can be paused and if I had to call it, I'd estimate that your player was probably onside. It is fairly close though and I would say that if the AR has made an incorrect call here it's possibly due to not shifting their focus quickly enough from the player taking the shot, to the player who eventually gets to the rebound.

It's not actually possible for the human eye to focus on two different locations at the same time, so there is an inevitable lag between the AR seeing the ball being struck and then re-focussing on the potentially-offside-positioned player and assessing their position in relation to the second last opponent. This is sometimes referred to as the "flash-lag effect" though I'm not sure it really meets the scientific definition for this actual phenomenon.

I believe the better AR's are able to do a mental calculation of the relative motion of the ball and players and extrapolate backwards to where the player was when the ball was struck. If the AR doesn't do this though, and especially if they're slow in shifting their focus to the second player, such that the player is now in an offside position (even though they weren't when the ball was struck) then the AR can end up making an incorrect decision.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Troy
Thanks for the video and question.
Assuming the scorer was in an onside position at the moment of the kick then there is no possibility under Law 11 of an offside offense in this situation.
If the scorer was in an offside position at the moment of the shot the save by the goalkeeper does not reset offside so it would be called offside.
As to what the AR saw or thought he saw only the AR can answer that. From the video, it appears that the scorer was in an onside position at the moment of the shot and therefore the goal was good. If I was observing this game as a referee observer I would ask the AR what did he see? If he said that in his opinion the scorer was ahead of the 2nd last opponent at the moment of the shot then I would have to respect his view. If he said that he was in an offside position when it was saved by the goalkeeper then different matter entirely
Interestingly at 23.00 on a goal scored by Blue on the questionable free-kick mentioned by Referee Dawson, there is a follow-on in by an attacker #19 on to the shot which ends up as a goal. It is not offside yet it is also a tight call and the challenger #19 moves from an onside position to try to play the ball which causes the goalkeeper to miss the save. Had #19 been in an offside position it would have been an offside offense of interfering with an opponent.
Based on that I would say that the AR has the ability to focus on tight offside calls. I suspect that on this tight disallowed goal call and without video technology the AR may have flagged the offside as it would have looked tight with #19 running onto the rebound from what may have looked like an offside position. Throw in another Blue shirted player at the top of the screen in an offside position and that does not help either as the AR looks across the offside line
Being an AR requires an ability to take into account two separate factors in offside which is the moment of the play/touch and the position of an attacker at that exact moment. In this example the moment the ball reaches the goalkeeper #19 is in an offside position yet we see from the video that #19 looks onside at the moment of the shot. If the AR followed the ball flight in the shot the focus may not have been on the position of #19 and then it is somewhat of a refocus which could give an erroneous call both ways.

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