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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34348

Law 11 - Offside 9/24/2021

Larry of Danville, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34346

It is clear to me that when a defender jumps to head a ball or dives in front of a kick they are making a deliberate play, and by current Law this resets offside. But when is a block or header of a kick considered a save? If an attacker's kick is clearly going to goal and a defender makes a deliberate play to block it, is it still a save if there is a GK between the block and the goal?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
A save is defined in the LotG both in Law 11 and also the glossary.
**A ‘save’ is 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).**

The terms used of going into or close to goal is subjective and it is a judgement call for the referee to make based on the circumstances. I would say that a block, header, kick by any player on a ball destined for a possible goal is a save. The tricky ones are the stopping of a shot when it is not ‘near’ to goal. It makes no difference where the goalkeeper is located as it can still be considered a save with the goalkeeper behind the defender.

Case in point is the recent video in the USA v Mexico. I would not consider that to be a save. But rather blocking a shot.
These are all saves

The one at 6.00 has the goalkeeper behind the defender who makes the save.

As to offside considerations my experience of gaining an advantage by being in an offside position is that it presents most times on saves by goalkeepers where the ball rebounds or spills out to a PIOP off a save. When defenders are involved in saves it means that the attackers may have other opponents including the goalkeeper in the mix.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Larry,
while it is an OPINION as to what constitutes a save! It is dependant on the probability that ball would or could have realistically entered the goal & ONLY the deliberate or accidental action taken by the defender prevents the ball from doing so USUALLY by deflecting the ball AWAY & OUT from the goal, in a fairly clear manner. If in the opinion of the referee, this is how it occurs, then that action does NOT reset an oppossing PIOP restriction and it would be an INDFK out should the PIOP play that ball.

Was it a deliberate play to block a shot as a challange or deliberate save?
Was that ball destined to score a goal if that redirect had NOT occurred?

These are typical of what is meant by a deliberate save in the ball is prevented from entering the goal & ONLY a non restricted opponent could benifit from that rebound or deflection. If the opponent was a PIOP at the time of the team mate last touch he is out of luck to benifit and an INDFK for offside would be the correct call.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
I don't have too much to add to what my colleagues have already contributed on this topic other than to say that when it comes to a deliberate save in the context of offside, in the overwhelming majority of cases we're talking about a save by a goalkeeper. There is of course, the odd occasion when an action by an outfield player can also be considered as a save but these are quite rare and you probably will only see a couple of them in a whole season of watching football matches in a given league or competition.

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Offside Question?

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

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