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Question Number: 34574

Law 11 - Offside 4/24/2022

RE: Adult

Dom Maunder of saltash, england asks...

Why was Ronaldos goal against arsenal ruled offside when the lines var put on the screen showed he was actually onside? The arsenal players line was red and because united were in playing in blue, ronaldos line was blue. Did var get confused and think uniteds line was red?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dom
One of the challenges with VAR offside calls has been the fine margins by which some of these decisions are made. When those blue and red lines are marked on the screen based on the position of parts of players bodies that can legally play the ball there is a judgement call made as to whether the furthest part forward is in an offside position.

The VAR officials uses what is called one pixel lines to mark positions of the relevant players, those blue and red lines that are shown in the final image of the decision For marginal offside decisions, after the one-pixel lines are applied, the VAR puts on the thicker broadcast lines and where they overlap, those situations will now be deemed as onside.

Now we also know that VAR has use of Hawkeye technology which gives additional images over and above the regular media images.
For what it is worth the final image I have seen shows Ronaldo's foot marginally beyond the foot of an Arsenal defender's foot. That is technically offside and that is the decision that was made. There has been a few of those touching line decisions and if the red line gets beyond the blue line it is called offside.
There is a discussion underway about amending Law 11 to take account of the use of VAR in the game. Personally I believe that the use of the lines while technically correct in Law was never the intention of offside decision making with it now down to inches in many cases the length a player's foot.
In the scheme of things I am of the opinion that the Ronaldo goal in the spirit of offside should have been allowed yet when the technology shows that it was offside as per the use of technology then it had to be ruled out.

In the game the only offside call that I disagreed with was the Xhaka goal. One of the images I have seen shows De Gea looking to the right of Nketiah as the ball goes to his left. That move to his right to see the ball moves him slightly in the opposite direction to the ball flight and that second of readjustment can be the difference between not getting to the shot and a save. I understand PGMOL said that because United defender Victor Lindelof was also in De Gea's line of sight and the distance between the keeper and Nketiah was sufficient for it not to be a distraction it was not offside. That is not what Law 11 states and to me Nketiah interfered with an opponent's line of sight to the ball in an offside position so it should have been ruled out. It is a subjective decision though unlike the position of a player which is a factual decision.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dom,
Understand our perspective as armchair referees reviewing video freeze-frame slow-motion reverse angles is vastly different than an on-field official in real-time. I do try to watch at full speed using the camera angle currently focusing on a play just not the eyesight angle of view the referee might be experiencing.

I went hmmm on more than one occasion.

I felt the VERY late harsh tackle by Bruno Fernandes on Nuno Tavares was deserving of a red card! Man u could have gone to 10 late in the game!

I was displeased that the defender Cedric Soares after being thoroughly BEATEN by Jadon's fancy dribbling went to the ground stumbling off-balance stopping a CLEAR attacking opportunity with his hand. This hand support on the ground BS should ONLY cover a defender UNAWARE of the ball flight like picking themselves up after a fall and a ball is redirected at them. This defender was actively trying to break up the attack.

As to offside by Ronaldo, sigh we are talking a toenail here. No way in god's green earth would a referee be able to say with certainty without the VAR tech. Even that appeared to be almost inconclusive given the lines overlapped on the screen but they extrapolated the foot sequence and by the standard applied I guess it was offside but truthfully when you have to look THAT hard? The fact they show lines overlapping is in my opinion a silly idea because it gives the public impression it was ok. Make the coloured lines on the public screen be really thick so if one is marginally ahead of the other a distinct ridge of colour could show through?

I 100% concur with my colleagues' position on this next item.
Yet then they throw out the basic offside distinction of keeper interference of line of sight claiming the distance out was sufficient? I guess they might think it was a shot the keeper could not have got to but NOWHERE in the LOTG does it say distance? The PIOP Nketiah was CLEARLY in between Granit Xhaka & David de Gea blocking the line of sight! We can see him trying to peer around the wrong way!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dom,
I'm afraid you may have misinterpreted the images here. I had to do a little bit of checking to be sure but my initial impression was correct that on the images used in the EPL for VAR offside decisions there's only a red line if the attacker is offside. If the attacker is onside the line is green.

On the image you refer to the red line was the line for Ronaldo and the blue line was the line for the defender. Now you could debate as to whether this actually was the correct decision, because when looking at the image on the link below which depicts the incident, it appears to me that the line for Ronaldo's foot should have been placed slightly further away from the goal line than it was and the lines probably should have been overlapping.

Now, early on in the season it was announced that the EPL would be using thicker lines for deciding on offside decisions in order to provide a greater margin of error and if the lines touched or overlapped, the player would not be given offside. However for some reason this does not seem to have happened here.

So while I think you could definitely debate the merits of the decision in and of itself, the fact is that the line colours are not as you interpreted them.

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