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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34395

High School 10/25/2021

RE: Competitive High School

Matthew Holten of Miamisburg, OH United States asks...

Player #1(red team), attempting to play a ball forward/clear it (out of her 1/2 of the field), kicks it hard causing it to hit "opposing" player #2 (green team) in the knee, who is standing just in front of her. The ball "ricochets/deflects" back behind player #1 to player #3 (green team) who is an offside position. Should this be called offside?

As an AR I did not raise my flag, as I interpreted that this ball was initiated by the red teams intentional errant pass and non-intentionally played by the green team, so NO offside.

Was I correct? TIA

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matthew
I suspect you ask this either that you had a suspicion it was offside or it caused a fuss in the game. Either way it is good to seek clarification for the next time. Events like this are good learning opportunities.

Both FIFA and NFHS are identical in this offside matter
Law 11 tells us and I quote ** A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or TOUCHED by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play** Capitals by me. Played is intentional while touched can also be unintentional.
NFHS Rule 11 states and I quote ** A player shall only be penalized for being in an offside position if, at the moment the ball TOUCHES or is played by a teammate, that player is involved in active play by..*** Again capitals by me.

In your scenario the last player to TOUCH the ball was Green player #2 which then went to a Green player #3 in an offside position. The flag should have been raised for offside when Green #3 interfered with play.

The quoted lines in Rules / Law 11 makes no mention of intentional or not, just that it is played or touched. An extreme of this would be a scenario where even if Green was lying on the ground oblivious to play and the ball touched him that is sufficient to be deemed a touch for offside purposes.

I had one of those a few seasons ago as an AR. I immediately flagged and initially there was consternation about the fact that the defender cleared the ball yet the penny dropped when they realized the ball rebounded off an attacker to the PIOP and that I was 100% correct.

The referee should help out here as well. If there was a clear Green PIOP with a rebound off Green that should be picked up and called without a flag when the PIOP interfered with play or an opponent. In this part of the world we officiate many games as lone referees. As such referee are very much tuned into offside decision making. Referees should not rely solely on ARs.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matthew,
well you were correct in bringing this item to our attention as it will now help you correctly interpret offside in the future!

As AR you needed to raise the flag when Green player #3 become involved by interfering with play! Why? Because Green #3 was a PIOP ( player in an offside position) who became restricted from involvement the moment the ball rebounded off her Green #2 team mates knee.

What is more, an aware CR, just as they can wave off an incorrect flag, they could blow the whistle without your flag, indicating an INDFK for offside if this was CLEARLY understood! No CR should simply over rule their ARs for any reason EXCEPT to correct a mistake and make the right call. !

ANY physical touch of the ball by a team mate, no matter how it occurs, will engage the offside positional evaluation freeze frame moment for the rest of that team. In this case #3 green was a PIOP when the ball touched #2 green's knee. THUS RESTRICTED!

What is interesting is this!
RED kicks ball, as that is the last touch by red if there are red team mate PIOPs they are now restricted from involvement.

If the referee has determined that the ball off the red foot now accidentally deflects off the green knee, as a non deliberate action, it STILL counts as a last touch of green and all green PIOPS are now restricted from involvement.

But are you aware that all red PIOPS if there were any, are STILL restricted??
It is quite plausable, albeit not often, that there are restricted PIOPS from both teams on the FOP at the same time due to these unusal circumstances.

A last touch of the ball by a team mate does NOT reset any opposition restrictions if it is a non deliberate accidental touch or a deliberate save by the opponet even if the opponet's team mates are triggered for involvement themselves because of that touch.

Remember that if a PIOP even though restricted is not YET involved, you delay that flag, until they ARE involved! They either touch that ball or they interfere with an opponet from being able to get to that ball in some fashion. It should be apparant that if we removed them from the FOP NOTHING would have changed is a good barometer to see if they have affected the play unfairly.

It is important to grasp although sometimes a restricted PIOP will accidently interfere it STILL is an indfk offence because he became involved just as it is NOT an offence when they TRY to intefere and fail at being involved.

Imagine a PIOP lying on the ground by the post no opponent nearby, a team mate shoots the ball towards him, no doubt he was offside positioned.

Our PIOP tries despertly to get out of the way and the ball skims off his body into the goal. The fact the ball would have scored means nothing, he touched it, thus involved, thus INDFK out!

Yet even if he tried to take credit for the goal and tried to redirect the ball but it hopped over his foot into the goal. The fact he did NOT touch it means the goal is GOOD!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matthew,
Assuming green player #3 touched the ball or interfered with an opponent (which you don't actually specify) then you should have raised your flag for an offside offence.

I'm guessing that a question arose in your mind because of the mention of a rebound or deflection in the wording of the offside law. However what needs to be borne in mind is that such considerations only apply when it involves an opponent, not a team mate of the player in an offside position (PIOP).

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