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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34255

Law 11 - Offside 6/21/2021

RE: Youth-Adult, recreational and competitive

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Re: Placement of the free kick on offside calls. Sorry, but I couldn't find an answer for this in a search here.

We know it's not an offence to simply BE in an offside position... therefore where does the offence occur? In other fouls (outside the penalty area) free kicks are spotted where the offence happened.

Example: an attacker is 10 yards behind the second-last defender, who is at the half line. A lobbed pass goes to the defending corner and the offside player runs and contacts the ball.

Flag goes up. "Tweet!"

Has the AR stayed at the half-line, to mark where the offside line was at the time of the pass - or has the AR run down the line, to follow the ball?

Is the free kick spotted in the defending corner, where the offside player contacted the ball - or does it come back up: to where the offside line was at the time of the kick... or where the attacker was standing (10 yards offside) at the time of the pass?

Incredibly, I see all three placements, at other sites on the internet. (I favour the first.) What say you here? Any video examples would be appreciated.

As a slight aside, here's a wonderful animation on the offside concept. (It shows the free kick placement as where the touch occured.)

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Law 11 was amended some time ago to bring it into line with all other Laws in that the restart is taken from where the offence occurred.

In the case of offside the IDFK is taken from where the offençe was completed that is where the PIOP interfered with play or with an opponent. Most obvious sign of this change is that an offsude IDFK can be taken in the PIOP’s own half.

On the mechanics an AR who follows the ball and then flags oir offside due to interfering with play or an opponent the IDFK is taken from that location not the offside position.

Law 11 states
** If an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick where the offence occurred, including if it is in the player’s own half of the field of play.**
Being in an offside position is not an offence so an AR will wait for the offence to occur. The only grey area is the early flag on the lone PIOP in which case the IDFK is taken from the location of the raised flag even though the PIOP has not completed the totality of the offence.

Thanks for the video animation. I wish it was as simple as that! We know from experience and from the many questions that it is probably along with handling the two most difficult Laws to manage.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
thanks for the video link it is certainly not the worst I have seen to help those confused by the offside portion of the LOTG. The imaginary line, 2nd last opponent, the ball location were great details as to establishing position so was the fact the involvement occurs at the place of the involvement within the video to remember.kudos to those that did make a decent effort.

The concept that a PIOP (player in an offside position) can STILL be held accountable even if he returned into their own half, is and will be difficult to grasp for those not blessed with full comprehension. The fact that while the position is established inside the opposition half, players and ball can move in any direction and into any half before that involvement restriction is lifted!

My esteemed colleague Ref Mchugh points out the new version of the LOTG changed the location to the involvement part which IS the infraction, NOT the determination of position which only restricts the player from being involved until or unless a new touch of the ball by a teammate or a deliberate touch or possession of the ball by the opposition CHANGES or resets the restriction.

I try to explain offside as a 2 part equation! #1 is the POSITION which is TOTALLY dependant on the restricted player being inside the opposition half when a teammate last touches play the ball & the later #2 is the INVOLVEMENT this portion which is the actual act of the restricted positionally compromised player choosing or accidentally interfering with play (touching/contacting the ball) or interfering with an opponent (preventing them from unfettered access to that ball.)

Generally, the AR should delay the flag until 100% certain the PIOP IS actively involved!
But there are 2 considerations!

one is safety (we do not want to wait for a collision between an opponent and a PIOP) Thus the parameters for interference might depend on the speed and movement of an incoming restricted PIOP player seeking to be involved

the second? is that grey area my colleague Ref McHugh mentioned is the exception that allows an AR to realize the PIOP is the ONLY player chasing the ball, that ball has absolutely no chance of being played by any other player from either team & that ball no chance of going into touch before that PIOP was to play it!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
The change ref McHugh refers to was part of the major rewrite that took place in 2016.

Previous to that, the free kick was taken, as your second scenario describes, from the location of the offside player at the moment the ball was played by a teammate.

Since 2016 it is to be taken from where the player becomes active in play, so normally either where they touched the ball or interfered with an opponent.

However, in the scenario where the AR decides that the player in an offside position is the only one on their team that could reach the ball and the flag goes up early then the player does not necessarily have to touch the ball or interfere with an opponent for the offence to be given.

In this case, although not specifically mentioned in the wording of the law, the most logical position for the free kick would be where the player was when the flag went up.

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