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Question Number: 34386

Law 11 - Offside 10/16/2021

RE: Rec Under 10

Jay LaFountain of Coldwater, MI USA asks...

Offside question. I don't usually have questions, but I had a situation come up where every other referee I asked said the call should have been offside and I have no idea how it could be possible. I was a coach at the time, and I (badly) shouted something about it but shut up right away because it was silly to argue in a 10U game.

Anyway, here's the situation:

Green corner kick. Green player 10 kicks the ball. It goes directly to a red player, who kicks the ball back to green player 10 (in an offside position). Green player 10 gets the ball, flag goes up, whistle blows, and I yell "From a red player?"

When talking about it calmly later, as these things should be handled (we're all friends and I'd already apologized) I asked where his snapshot had come from. The response was that the snapshot came from when the ball deflected (or was saved) by the red player. I'm trying to stick to law here, I had judged it a deliberate play, but that's neither here nor there. My ruling was that since no teammate had touched the ball, there could not be an offside infraction. The snapshot we always take is from when the ball is played or is touched by a teammate. Since a player in an offside position is excluded from being an infraction on a corner kick, there could be no snapshot from when he kicked the ball (nor would he be offside anyway) and you only judge an offside infraction when it's played by a teammate, so there was no opportunity for him to have actually committed an offsides infraction unless a green player touched the ball. I didn't see that happen and I believe it was confirmed by the referee that there was no other green player involved.

So, have I gone nuts and I'm missing something in the laws, or do I know what I'm talking about, and if so, how do I explain this to the other referees?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jay
Thanks for the question.
I’m not even sure why this is even being debated by a referee or assistant. It simply cannot be offside as offside needs two team mates to be involved to be considered for offside.

The only Green player to touch the ball was Green #10 and the only other player to touch the ball was Red then how can that be even considered offside!! I would be shouting too “From a red player”
In fact the corner kick makes no difference here as even if the ball was in play it still cannot be offside nor could it be offside if it was a rebound back to Green from his original kick. The fact it was a corner with no possible offside from the kick makes it even more absurd.

The only possible explanation here is that Green #10 was in an offside position and that threw the referee crew. There cannot possibly be offside if ball comes back to him from Red either deliberately or accidentally.

It is simply a complete mis-understanding of offside and Law 11. The first line of the offence section states “ A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched* by a TEAM-MATE.”” Capitals by me.
So where is the team mate in all this. It is without doubt not offside and cannot in any circumstances be offside without the involvement of a Green team mate.

Now complete offside errors do happen even at the highest level

In the Italy v Turkey game in the Euros an offside was given as shown in the video from a corner kick. It simply could not be offside. I’m not sure what the AR was thinking. I looked at this every which way even thinking could the kicker #10 be called offside for interfering with an opponent on the 2nd phase and sure he moved and he is behind the ball when it is played so he can’t be offside either. If it was for being off the FOP it was not handled correctly as if that was the case it was a card. Complete brain freeze. I would say he had some explaining to do on that one in the post match debriefing.

I once had a league official who was spectating a game come to me at half time to ask about a non offside call. A defender made a complete error by trying to kick the ball back towards his goalkeeper and it was intercepted by a forward who was probably 15/20 yards beyond the offside line. He wanted to know why it was not offside. It sort of threw me as it was so plainly obvious that it could not be offside in any way. Yes the attacker was in a blatant offside position yet he got the ball from an opponent. He wasn’t complaining just asking which shocked me as here was someone who has been involved in soccer all his life and this is so fundamental one expects it to be known. Okay the play was in itself was unusual as rarely would a defender kick the ball to an opponent stood 15 plus yards offside yet the players knew it could not possibly be offside and it did not even arise.

Maybe the AR in the Italy game was thrown by the positioning of the attacker off the goal line or in the recess of his mind confused it with a player being deliberately off the field behind the goal line is placed on the goal line for offside purposes until the next stoppage? Problem with that is the player received the ball from a corner kick where offside does not apply. In open play he would be called offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jay,
I like the fact that as a coach although you disagreed you were amicable in agreeing to disagree. Even as you were 100% correct to be scratching your head wondering what in blue blazes was going on. lol

well we are as confused as you were by the decision to award a non existant offside violation for a INDFK that simply should have been play continues?

That said at U10< I am surprised offside is even a consideration??

First off it is an impossibility to be offside on the initial corner kick no matter which team play the ball after it is kicked into play as this is one of the 3 exceptions. The other two, the goal kick and the throw in.

You are spot on when you state that only a TEAM MATES touch of the ball will set into motion the revaluation of offside position on the corner kick because the exemption is lifted at that moment of contact but NOT for that player (he was the exemption) only the rest of his team mates ane no evaluated as the next phase of play begins !

The fact that a RED opponent is the first person to contact & plays the ball (deliberately or accidently) on the GREEN corner kick changes nothing for GREEN, nothing has changed. What was in effect, the offside exemption, permitted in this restart, is still in effect for GREEN team.

Hence the redirection of the ball back off the RED player to the GREEN kicker or ANY GREEN player the only proper way to proceed was to allow play to continue??

Play should be allowed to continue no matter where on the FOP that GREEN player is or who that Green player is.
The offside exemption for GREEN at the corner kick is STILL IN effect.

Plus if you undersand this important point!
The kicker was not restricted when he kicked the ball, EVEN if it was NOT an exempted corner kick . If it was a simple DFK from outside the PA or an INDFK, the truth is, a red player rebound that enables the ball to come back to the original kicker has no potential for offside. If it was an INDFK the red touch also releases the 2nd touch violation that a kicker might have if the ball rebounded off the post or crossbar.

It is only NOW at the 2nd contact if the ball by Green after the 1st corner kick placed the ball in play, that we have a new phase of play, a freeze frame snap shot for future evaluation which Green created with this NEW touch. Now other Green players might be restricted as PIOPs depending on their position to the 2nd last RED opponent or the ball location in relasionship to who is nearer the goal line is a possibility that was not, until that next GREEN touch occured.

In your senario though the GREEN 10 upon recieving the ball was onside, in the sense he was NOT restricted from playing the ball, reguardless of his position on the FOP. He can be free to kick or shoot and if that ball were to once again hit a red player, the red keeper or the post or crossbar and the ball came back to him he could STILL be free to play the ball because no team mate has yet created a NEW phase of play.

Basic fundemental aspect of OFFSIDE it is not an offence to BE in an offside position there is always more to it. Understanding that "it" aspect was severly lacking in this senaro.

That is not to say that WHEN he played the ball a 2nd time, if a teammate of HIS was a PIOP and inadvertantly blocked the view of the keeper or prevented a direct challenge for that ball that an INDFK for offside might be plausable.

Here is something of a dark hole abyss with offside.
Can you grasp that both teams COULD have PIOPS at the same time ?

#9 BLUE striker tired, chooses to lace up, taking a knee at outer edge of the PA with only
#1 YELLOW keeper to keep his company.

#3 YELLOW is on an attack with the ball near the midline!
#5 YELLOW along the touchline realized he was in behind the 2nd last #7 blue opponet
#7 BLUE had pushed up near the midline.
#5 YELLOW striker trying to recover running back towards & eventually into his own half.
#3 YELLOW tried to slot a hard through ball into the blue half.
#6 YELLOW team mate was running into the blue half just on his side of the midline
#7 BLUE defender actions cause #5 Yellow to be restricted as a PIOP but realizes it is
#6 YELLOW now headed in, and onside
#7 BLUE flailing to reverse gears loses his balance, falls, the through ball (accidentally) strikes his knee & deflects 180 degres back into the yellow half along the touchline. The contact was 100% not deliberate, a deflection does NOT reset PIOP status for yellow!

#7 BLUE NEW touch of the ball places #9 BLUE as a PIOP no matter it was accidental
#5 YELLOW PIOP continues his run along the touchline.

These two players #9 Blue and #5 Yellow both challenge for the ball along the touchline
What is your decision?
Where is the restart?

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jay,

You're not losing your mind - this is a referee who doesn't understand the law. At this age, I'm guessing you probably get a number of referees out in their first year (being Australia, I'm not familiar with your different levels though).

When I was a referee coach/mentor/assessor, I loved it when clubs would send in feedback about referees like this as it gave me the opportunity to go and watch them next week and discuss the incident.

Everything you said is correct.

Somewhat concerningly, I've seen online debates about where Blue A takes the throw and Blue B is in an offside position at the time. Blue A throws to Blue B, Red A jumps to head, skims off the head, and continues to Blue B. I've seen referees argue that it's offside because the red touch means it's no longer 'directly from a throw in'. (note that this is prior to the changes about playing the ball nullifying offside).

So, I describe it another way, which is applicable to your scenario: Offside always requires 2 attackers. The attacker who last touched the ball, and the PIOP. At a CK, GK and TI, we can completely take the player putting the ball in out of the equation. They don't exist. At all. So, when the PIOP receives it, they're actually the first attacker.

Like you, I like to talk about snapshots. We take out FIRST snapshot when the attacker, at these restarts, touches the ball AFTER the restart. So, not when it's put into play - offside doesn't even exist in our mind until the first time an attacker touches it AFTER it's in play. Then, they're the FIRST attacker. Is there a SECOND who is PIOP? Because nothing that happened before THIS moment is relevant for offside.

Of course, there's the other issue in your situation about the defender also playing the ball - so that's a second clear reason why offside was the wrong decision.

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