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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34312

Law 11 - Offside 8/21/2021

RE: Adult

John of Antrim, United Kingdom asks...

An attacker stands in an offside position as his team prepares to take a freekick. He is not interfering with an opponent.
The kick is taken and, as the ball is in the air, a defender notices the attacker, runs back towards his goal and slides into him knocking him down.
What call should the ref make?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
The answer depends on whether the player in an offside position interfered with an opponent. If the defender deliberately runs into the PIOP and that is not connected with play with the PIOP doing nothing then the PIOP has not committed any offside offence so it would be a Law 12 offence of charging by the defender punished by a free kick or penalty.

Now in reality it may not look like that to the referee who may see the PIOP as interfering with an opponent by blocking his path to defend.
The Laws tell us that a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball.
It goes on to say that a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
This is another YHTBT (you have to be there) scenario. Without seeing the incident it's not really possible to say and even then, different referees might see if differently. Any decision would only be "in the eye of the beholder" or more accurately in the case, in the opinion of the referee.

This might well be a foul by the defender leading to a penalty kick or it might equally well be an offside offense by the attacker based on the clauses of the law as quoted by my colleague ref McHugh.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
as in any "What If?) scenario, there is a plethora of potential possibilities or outcomes as my Colleague Ref Groves articulates ITOOTR (in the opinion of the referee) will loom large here.

I will say this, deliberately placing players in offside positions PRIOR to a free kick is tactically flawed because those players are NOT permitted to affect the play and their POTENTIAL to interfere simply by being in the way is great. It does depend on the ball flight and routes of access but PIOPS should not be granted foul status if they set picks or block or create a reason to force defenders to run farther or hinder their attempt to play the ball.

You say the PIOP is NOT interfering with any opponent and that it is the opponent choosing to move over towards him and contact ensues unfairly. No route or access to the ball was denied and no line of sight was being blocked Then that was a foolish defender for wasting his time or for creating a foul possibility for no reason

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Offside Question?

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

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