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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000


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Question Number: 34303

Law 11 - Offside 8/17/2021

RE: Regional Ref Under 15

James Thompson of Croswell, Michigan United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34242

We are following the IFAB rulebook for AYSO. I have a question regarding offside when 2 attacking players have passed all defenders or just one defender remains. The IFAB rulebook states: "A player is in an offside position if any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent" which is a bit confusing.

1. If 2 attackers pass all defenders, is the ball now the offside marker?

2. If 2 attackers pass all defenders and Player A is ahead of player B and A passes to B (B was level with/behind the ball when it was passed) would B be in an offside position?

3. If the same situation occurred and (B was level with/behind the ball and the last defender when it was passed) would B be in an offside position?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi James,
The ball is always part of the offside equation. As the law says, a player is only in an offside position if they are closer to the opponent's goal line than the ball and the second last opponent.

So the first question when assessing offside position is, "Which is closer to the opponent's goal line - the ball or the second last opponent?"

If the 2nd last opponent is closer, that's where the offside line is - if the ball is closer, then it is there instead.

So in your scenarios:

1. Yes, the ball now marks the offside line.

2. No, if player B was behind or level with the ball when it was passed, B is not in an offside position. Incidentally, it doesn't matter if A is ahead of B, it only matters if the ball is. Normally those two things would go together but not necessarily.

3. No, if player B is behind (as in further away from the opponent's goal line than) both the ball and the last defender, they are not in an offside position.

Please note - I am not quite sure exactly what you mean by "last defender." Do you mean last outfield defender or are you including the goalkeeper as well? This is why it's important to use the correct terminology. The law uses the term opponent rather than defender because then it is clear that both outfield defenders and goalkeeper are included in the definition.

In any event, whether you mean last outfield defender or last opponent, the outcome in your scenarios is the same - attacker B is not in an offside position, so long as they are behind the ball (i.e. further away from the opponent's goal line than it) when the ball is passed.



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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
Thanks for the question.

The key to the wording is BOTH the ball and the 2nd last opponent. So if one is still present such as the ball the attacking player is not in an offside position.

1. So here in this scenario the ball is now the offside line

2. As player B is behind the ball he is in an onside position and entitled to participate fully in play. If he is ahead of the ball in this scenario then he only has probably one opponent that is the goalkeeper between himself and the goal line which is an offside position.

3. In this scenario once Player B is behind the ball or the 2nd last opponent then he is in an onside position.





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Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef



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