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Question Number: 34587

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/10/2022

RE: rec Adult

sal of Chicago, Illinois United States asks...

Player A1 takes a shot on goal, the goal keeper is way out his goal line. Only a B1 defender stands between the goal and the ball. A2 is standing by the six yard line in an offside position. The ball is deliberately handled in the goal line by the B1 defender, the ball lands by A2 who scores.
Here's the question: 1)Allow goal and yellow card for B1. or
2) penalty kick for A team, red card for B2. Would you as a referee consider B2's handling a save which would put A2 in an offside offense, and make you decide for the most serious offense, handling and DOGSO or offside, which would result in disallowing the goal and awarding a PK and red card or would you opt for scenario (1)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Sal,
A deliberately handled DOGSO situation, showing a red card reducing the team a player and awarding a PK is an option, however, while the LOTG do state a deliberate SAVE does NOT reset offside for the opposition. given the goal was in effect scored by an offside player. The FACT is the defenders' use of the ARMS is not included because it is an illegal act.

That said what you sell as the best decision could be ITOOTR.

There is lots of room to claim the deliberate handling simply redirected the ball to an offside opponent as a deliberate action one could reasonably apply advantage. The referee could choose to forgo a send off and a PK and just go with a goal, kick off and yellow card.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
Interesting scenario.
First off we can say for certain that the defender B1 has handled the ball deliberately which prevented a goal and that A2 while in an offside position has more than likely not interfered with an opponent so a penalty kick and a red card for denying an obvious goal could be awarded.

Now Law 11 tells us and I quote that **a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage, unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent.**
Based on that the offside has been reset by the deliberate handling as it is not a legal save so the referee can play advantage, award the goal and caution the defender for unsporting behaviour.

My personal opinion is that advantage is the better decision as the defending team does not play short plus there is no guarantee that the penalty kick will be scored. When faced with a choice a goal is always the best possible advantage. The challenge for the referee will be to sell the goal by a PIOP yet if the defending team has both options I would say they may be happier with advantage and a caution. I suspect as well that depending on the referee's knowledge of the Laws the more likely call might be a penalty kick and a red card. I have seen some referees call offside on deliberate plays that went to a PIOP. How many will know that deliberate handling is a deliberate play and that it cannot be considered a save and that it resets offside?

A few seasons ago I had a situation where a defender handled the ball on the goal line and I was too quick with the whistle as the ball rebounded to an attacker in an onside position who scored just after the whistle sounded. I had to disallow the goal, send off the defender for denying an obvious goal and restart with a penalty kick. And guess what the penalty was saved! The better decision was advantage, a goal and a caution for USB.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Sal,

Interesting question. We know from the laws that deliberate handling can constitute playing the ball, thus nullifying offside - but can it be considered a save?

The answer here is actually found in the LOTG Glossary of Football Terms:

Save - An action by a player to stop or attempt to stop the ball when it is going into or very close to the goal using any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless a goalkeeper within their own penalty area).

So, if it can be deliberate handling, but can't be considered a save, then then means it does nullify the offside - so the correct decision is to allow the goal and caution the defender for USB.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Sal,
As my colleagues have correctly pointed out, the laws make it clear that a deliberate handball cannot be considered a save. Therefore the player who was in an offside position has not committed an offside offence.

In my opinion (and in the opinion of pretty much every referee I've ever come across) it is always better for a team to have to a goal rather than a penalty, so the correct decision here based on that belief, is to award the goal and caution the defender.

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