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Question Number: 34605

Law 11 - Offside 5/28/2022

RE: Adult

Paul McGrane of LYTHAM ST. ANNES, Lancashire United Kingdom asks...

Two defenders challenge a forward for the ball and the forward doesn't touch the ball. The two defenders deflect the ball towards goal to an attacking player in an offside position. Is the attacking player offside because the pass by the defender was not deliberate?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
the word DEFLECT is a buzz word for, it does not matter, the attacking team mate's last touch of the ball is still on record as the reason there was a restricted PIOP. That PIOP still cannot play the ball, if the defender's touch is classified as a deflection it does NOT reset the restriction of the PIOP. Whether there is room to see a double deflection where a PIOP could benifit from a ball being ping ponged after a shot by an attacking tream mate or instead of 2 deflections, a deliberate save by one defender that gets deflected off a 2nd defender as both of those in law do not reset offside restriction is a tad murky. A ball squirting out from two opposing players it might be debatable as to who last touched it as a simultaneous event
A = attackers D = defenders
However if we determine that at the time A1 makes ball contact A2 is definately a PIOP!
PIOP = (attacking player in an offside position)

A1 kicks ball into D1 ball then deflects to ( PIOP A2) = offside
D1 kicks ball into A1 ball then deflects to ( PIOP A2) = offside
D1 kicks ball into A1 ball then deflects off D2 to ( PIOP A2) = offside

A1 kicks ball into D1, D1 kicks ball into D2 ball deflects off B2 to ( PIOP A2) = NOT Offside

Now a far reaching concept IF D1 first touch was seen as a DEFLECTION or as DELIBERATE SAVE niether of these in law reset offside restrictions for the PIOP
It is remotely plausable that D1 and D2 could be involved in a double deflection where neither made a deliberate play to reset the PIOP restriction in which case the attacking PIOP restriction is not lifted so INDFK out, offside still applies!

A1 kicks the ball towards D1 who instinctively tries to react but ball rebounds off him to D 2 which then defects over to A2 = still offside!

Madrid and Liverpool that was not offside in my opinion .


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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Paul,

In your example, an offside offence requires involvement by the player in an offside position, and a touch by a 2nd attacker (the one playing the ball).

In your example, there's no 2nd attacker touch - and the defence have played the ball (which would nullify any offside).

A deflection doesn't nullify offside - but if you're describing 2 defenders going for the ball and the attacker not touching it at all, then one of the defenders has played it.

HOWEVER, if you're referring to the Champions League disallowed goal - there's an angle which shows that neither defender is touching the ball, yet the ball suddenly changes direction. That tells us the attacker touched it, even if the view to their foot is blocked. As such, I don't believe that a defender sliding in to challenge a 50-50 ball was ever intended to be considered 'playing' the ball (and if it was, that would raise a question over every 50-50 challenge that goes to a player in an offside position). Even if it was, the attacking touch was a kick towards goal, and playing the ball doesn't cancel offside if it's saving a ball going at or close to goal. So, offside - but if the attacker did not touch it, then it couldn't be offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
Reads like you are describing the disallowed Benzema goal in the Champions League!

There are a few fundamentals that will decide the matter.
1. A player cannot be offside from a deliberate play of the ball by an opponent
2. A deflection / rebound off a ball played by an attacker that goes to an attacker in an offside position is still called offside.

In the Benzema offside situation the decision hinged on whether the ball was deliberately played by Fabinho #3 Liverpool only after being played by Konate or by Valverde #15 Real Madrid which then rebounded off the Liverpool player #3 in which case offside would be the correct call.

To answer your scenario you use the word deflect. Why did the ball deflects and who last played the ball? If it was a shot by an attacker that deflected to a PIOP who played the ball then it is still offside. If on the other hand it was not a deflection yet rather a deliberate play then offside is reset and play continues.
You may recall the famous Kane penalty decision in a Liverpool v Spurs game. Kane was in an offside position. The through ball was mis played by Lovren which then got to Kane who was subsequently fouled for a penalty award. It was shown that the play on the ball by Lovren was deliberate albeit poorly executed so there was no offside

How to asses the difference between deliberate and a deflection is that
A defender goes to play the ball – conscious action
The defender has time and options
The defender has control of his actions – not the outcome of the action
There is distance and space between the pass and the defender playing the ball.
If those criteria are met then it is a deliberate play and offside is reset.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Paul,
I'm going to take a leap of faith here, and take it that your question centres around the disallowed Real Madrid goal in the 2022 UEFA Champion's League Final.

As I saw this (and I watched all the replays, of which there were plenty) after the last touch by a Real player before Benzema receives the ball, there were two touches by Liverpool players (Konaté and then Fabinho). For me, the touch by Konaté was a deliberate play, the touch by Fabinho less so - he was sliding in to play the ball and Konaté played it against him. So while the touch off Fabinho was probably a rebound, the touch by Konaté was almost certainly deliberate.

Law 11 states 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 ..." (Which means they haven't committed an offside offence).

So for me, Benzema couldn't be guilty of an offside offence.

I have noticed people online referring to the fact that it was a rebound off Fabinho and saying that a rebound from an opponent does not negate offside, but that would only be relevant if it was the only touch by an opponent after the last touch by a Real player - and it wasn't.

The important touch in all this is the one by Konaté which as I say, for me is a deliberate play, meaning there was no offside offence.

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