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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34606

Law 11 - Offside 5/28/2022

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one short 'offside' question, please.

Rule says: 'A player (B1) in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent (A1) who deliberately plays the ball, ...... , is not considered to have gained an advantage, ......'

Does this also apply after an accidental deflect by an opponent's teammate (A2)?

Sumarized: A1 kicks the ball, A2 deflects this ball and B1 in offside position touches this ball.


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
If the attacker kicks a ball and another attacker is at that moment in an offside position that PIOP is restricted.

Now ONCE the ball is deliberately played by an opponent that restriction is lifted!

If the ball is played by an attacker creating a PIOP through his position on the FOP and the ball is DEFLECTED to that PIOP off the defending opponent, then the attacking PIOP CAN NOT play the ball as the restriction is STILL in place!

However, if the defender tried to clear and the ball deflected off an attacker albeit accidently then went to another attacker who was in an offside position when that deflection occurred . That is offside because the PIOP is receiving the ball from a last touch by his teammate.

If the defender tried to clear and the ball deflected off another defender accidently then went to opposing attacker who was in an offside position when that deflection occurred . That is NOT offside because the PIOP is receiving the ball from a last touch by his opponent.

Not that it means anything but Madrid and Liverpool that was not offside in my opinion . Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Petr,

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 Peter Grove

Hi Petr,

If in your example, opponent A1 has deliberately played the ball, then the player in an offside position does not commit an offence when they receive the ball.

If the ball had been played by a team mate of the offside-positioned player (OPP) and the only touch by an opponent had been a deflection or rebound, the player would still commit an offside offence on receiving the ball but in your example, a deliberate play by A1 would preclude this possibility.

If neither touch, by A1 or A2 were a deliberate play then the OPP would still be guilty of an offside offence but that's not how it sounds in your description. It sounds as if the play by A1 was deliberate, which means no offside offence is possible.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Law 11 is clear on this in that it states and I quote ** A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or TOUCHED ** Capitals by me and that touch can be deliberate or accidental.

So any touch by an attacking player which is the final touch is what is considered for assessing offside. That touch can be accidental so the extreme example would be where an attacker lying on the ground and the ball deflects off him to a team mate in an offside position that will be called offside when the PIOP interferes with play. The ball could be kicked by a defender and it hits an opponent accidentally with no knowledge of that touch and that is what is considered for offside purposes.

In the CL final the disallowed Benzema goal hinged on whether the ball was played / touch by Valverde and it rebound off Fabinho to Benzema in an offside position. If Valverde did not play the ball then it could not be offside. If he played it and it deflected off Fabinho then it was offside.

FWIW there is an uncertainty in the video if Valverde played the ball. He could have or maybe not and perhaps Konate played the ball off Fabinho in which case it could not be offside as then the only Real Madrid player to have played the ball was Benzema the scorer so he cannot be offside if he was the last attacker to play the ball before the touches by Liverpool players.

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Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

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