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Question Number: 34246

Law 11 - Offside 6/14/2021

RE: Select High School

Matt of Bristow, VA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34244

Two possible causes -

The AR moved before he raised his flag. Perhaps there was a IDFK offense after the CK.

Also, maybe he moved because both he and the referee were focused on the PA and they had a quick chat asking whether there was an offside offense and decided (wrongly and belatedly) to call it.

Ironically, I just had a chat with two ARs and sometimes the hardest thing to see is the player right in front of you because you're focused on the offside line in the middle of the field.

Third possibility - play was stopped for the player leaving the pitch and the referee decided not to issue a caution.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,

It is easy to speculate from the armchair view & we are aware of how easy it is to not have the total picture in real time! The CR and the AR in the match would need to publically come out and state their views for us to know for sure.

We did mention perhaps he saw something no one else did but the way the flag was raised indicates offside, not a free-kick event be it an indfk or not.

I agree, sometimes we can miss an event by being overly focused on a different aspect of the match. unfortunately, there is nothing conclusive why this occurred as no explanation other than a mistake has been offered by any credible agency be it FIFA, IFAB or the league itself.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
For the moment we can just speculate as to the reason for the flag
In my opinion the simple answer is an error by the AR. The AR may have got fixated by the Italiam player who was stood off the field of play in an offside position. The AR is thinking offside position and then when that player receives and plays the ball away he is still thinking offside. He forgets that the PIOP got it directly from a corner kick.
Another possibility is the Law 11 wording where it say that an attacking player who steps or stay off the field of play not to be involved in active play that player shall be considered to be positioned on the goal line for the purposes of offside 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 problem with that theory is that the player has already played the ball from the corner although the flag could have bern delayed due to thinking time. The AR could have had that wording in his thinking as the attacker who stays off the FOP behind the goal line in regular play is positioned on the goal line for offside purposes even if he gets to an onside position. Pure speculation yet I believe the AR was thinking offside due to the positioning of the PIOP.
As to your causes I feel that the way play unfolded the ball was played to a third Italian player so it could only be from the PIOPs touch that offside could be considered or subsequent play. It looked to me that the AR was thinking offside on the PIOP and called it after the PIOP had played the ball to the 3rd Italian suggesting that it was an afterthought on the 1st touch by the PIOP.
On the possibility of another offside offence there is no Italian player in an offside position as play unfolded not even in the penalty area. So the flag was for offside on the only PIOP and the way the AR pointed the flag afterwards it was a near signal which confirms that.
As to the leaving the FOP without permission that is generally left to the referee to deal with. If it was for that offence flagged by an AR it would have been a fluttering flag during play and a direction point. The AR could have asked the PIOP to stand on the field of play before the restart which would be the best way to deal with it. At this level stopping play to deal with leaving the FOP without permission would certainly result in a card rather than an IDFK only. An IDFK on its own would be an error in Law which would lose the referee marks on his assessment.

I think the simple answer is best one in that the AR made a error in flagging the PIOP for offside on a corner kick.

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