Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34345

Law 11 - Offside 9/21/2021

RE: Competitive Adult

Mark Flynn of Glendale, AZ United States asks...

Offside or not offside?

An onside player shoots, is partially blocked by a defender and the ball deflects to an offside attacker (flag went up), who then puts the ball in the net. This happened last week and the goal was given. I believe the ref was wrong and it should have been offside.

Who is right?

Cheers, Mark.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
The answer depends on whether the block was a deliberate play or a deflection.
If it was a deliberate play then it was not offside whereas if it deflected it was.
In this video the contact is opined as a deliberate play and a reset of offside

How is the difference between the two determined? Many times there can be a fine line between both actions. Here are some of the considerations in a deliberate play.
# The opponent goes to play the ball – conscious action.
# The opponent has time and options
# The opponent has control of his actions – not the outcome of the action
# There is distance and space between the kick of the ball and the oppponent contacting the ball.
A save by an opponent while deliberate is never a reset of offside.

The opposite of all those points makes it a deflection in that there is no conscious effort, no time or options, no control of action and there is little distance from the ball.

Ultimately it is the referees decision to make and the AR could have missed the deliberate touch or viewed it as a deflection from his viewpoint. Ultimately a raised flag is an opinion that a referee can accept or decline based on his opinion of what transpired. It never helps when there is a wave down of a flag by the CR.
Here is an example

Green plays the ball to Blue so it could not be offside so the referee was correct to wave the flag down. No flag and there would have been zero questioning of the goal.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matk,
hmmm without actualy witnessing the event it is difficult to be sure? Based on your description we need to determine was the defender making a Deliberate SAVE in which case you could be correct.

ANY accidental deflection or ANY deliberate SAVE that results in a redirected ball to the PIOP that would be gaining an advantage and offside would apply thus NO GOAL INDFK out.
The defender Deliberately played the ball but did so poorly and his mistake is that he reset the restrictions that applied to the opposition PIOP setting them to be free & to play that ball, thus good goal , wave the flag off! I have no way to be sure, best ask the match referee why he awarded the goal if the AR thought it was appropriate to flag?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mark,
As my colleagues have said, it all depends on how the referee sees the touch by the defender.

Was it a deliberate play, a deflection, a rebound or a deliberate save?

In the scenario you describe, Law 11 says the player is offside if they receive a ball that rebounded or deflected off an opponent, or from a deliberate save, where a save is defined as:

"‘when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area)."

However they are not offside when:

"receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, ... unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent."

As my colleagues have further mentioned, it's often almost impossible to make a judgement call on this kind of scenario without actually witnessing the incident in person.

For instance, you say that the ball was deflected. So that quite obviously makes it sound like a deflection. However you also say that the ball was blocked by the defender. Depending on how exactly the block was carried out, this could be seen as a deliberate play. Part of the trouble here is that the two categories can sometimes overlap and only the referee who was there at the time and saw it could judge which one of those two alternative categories the actions of the defender best fit into.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34345
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 34346

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.