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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34231

Law 11 - Offside 5/22/2021

RE: Rec Other

Tony Powell of The Villages, FL USA asks...

Scenario: A hard tackle tore off my boot. We had possession so I rolled over the sideline to fix it (about level with their 30-yard line). As I stood up, our center half fired a long looping pass towards me (from our half). I ran onto the field and scored.
I know a plyer can cross the side line chasing the ball and come back on without penalty.
The linesman confirmed that I was not on the field when the pass was kicked and didn't flag me as offside. The referee ruled otherwise without explanation then or later.
Out of interest, I tried again in our next game. Standing behind the goal line next to the goal post I side-footed an errant free kick into the goal with the same discussion:- Can a player be offside when they are not on the field?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tony,

A player who has temporarily left the field is, for offside purposes, considered to be on the field at the nearest point.

So, if you were to be behind the goal line, you're considered on it. In your game, you were considered to be on the side line around 30 yards out.

Bear in mind that if the officials believe you're intentionally leaving the field to gain some sort of deceitful, tactical advantage then you can be cautioned.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tony,
you are not held liable for exiting the FOP under momentum ( part of the normal play)or to fix your shoe, not that you must leave the FOP to put it back on unless instructed by the referee to do so, but for the purposes of offside, you will be held as being at that exit point along the touchline or on that goal line. Players are expected to stay on the FOP unless they have the permission of the referee to not be. Generally, once-off by permission you must have permission to re-enter. We prefer to be asked but some referees will give you their tact permission after the fact simply because it serves no useful purpose to be looking for an excuse to show a card. I watched a referee show a card to a player who ran off the FOP to get a drink of water sigh Technically right but seriously?

If it was believed you left the FOP to deceive you can be cautioned! You cannot use leave the FOP then sneak back unexpectedly free and clear. An example would be on an attacking corner kick, you are at the near post in your player's run-up to kick the corner. You dart out in behind the goal, run around the netted area, and come in at the far post hoping to escape your marker. Chances are you could be cautioned YET if you tried to slip inside the netted area moving along the goal line inside you would not likely be deemed as USB as you evaded your marker. As offside is not an issue on the delivery you might be in the way has given you could be offside positioned on any team mates redirected kick after if still inside the netted area.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tony,

The clear and simple answer to your question is yes, a player can be in an offside position (and then subsequently go on to commit an offside offence) even though they are positioned off the field of play.

As my colleagues have pointed out, a player who has left the field is considered to be on the touch line or goal line for the purposes of offside. So if the point on the line where you left, put you in an offside position when the pass was made, then the referee was correct to rule the goal out. Secondly, while a referee is not required to explain their decisions, I think that personally, in an unusual situation like this, I probably would have offered a word of explanation.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
Thanks for the question.
The referee was entirely correct to cancel the goal and to award the IDFK for offside.
A player is placed either on the goal line or the touchline directly opposite from where a player is located for offside purposes. So in your scenario the assistant referee should have placed you on the touchline at the 30 yard line which I assume is from where you you were located and ran on to follow the ball.
In the correcting equipment scenario most referees will allow a good deal of latitude in a player staying off the field of play to correct say the replacement of a boot yet if it where done for unsporting reasons it would result in a caution.

In the second scenario as you deliberately left the field of play to try to avoid offside then a re-entry to get involved in active play would result in offside and a caution for unsporting behaviour. Indeed if there is no offside offence with an advantage gained such as surprising an opponent unexpectedly coming from off the field that would be a caution and an IDFK restart.

To quote the relevant section of Law 11
"" An attacking player may step or stay off the field of play not to be involved in active play. If the player re-enters from the goal line and becomes involved in play before the next stoppage in play or the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside its penalty area, the player shall be considered to be positioned on the goal line for the purposes of offside.
A player who deliberately leaves the field of play and re-enters without the referee’s permission and is not penalised for offside and gains an advantage must be cautioned.

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