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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34754

Law 11 - Offside 11/6/2022

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


one offside situation, please.

'Player centers the ball into the box. The goalkeeper is boxing (or touching with fingers) this ball.'

Could this be a deliberate play by the goalkeeper? Can this and similar actions by the goalkeeper reset offside?


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr ,
if the keeper handles/touches the ball, gets control, then releases that ball back into play it would reset all opposition player offside restrictions allowing them to challenge for the ball.
However, if the keeper simply saves a shot at goal with a fingertip push wide or fisted punch out or a two-handed block then it is probable that opposition player(s) would still be under offside restrictions as those sorts of touches, a deliberate save or a deflection/rebound does not reset. In terms of control not only his hands but any body parts used to gain control of the ball (touch) and then have time and opportunity to choose an outcome could reset opposition restrictions for offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I think, in order to get an answer that fits within the framework of the laws, you have to express the question in terms that match the law. So in terms of offside, you have to look at what the keeper has done, and decide what part of Law 11 that corresponds to. As I understand the situation you're describing, you basically have two choices. What the keeper has done is either a deliberate play or a deliberate save. It's the referee's job to decide which of the two it is.

For it to be a deliberate save, it has to be a touch on "a ball which is going into or very close to the goal." So if you decide the touch you're looking at matches that description, then it doesn't reset offside. If it doesn't meet that definition, then it's more likely to be a deliberate play, which would reset offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
The answer depends on whether the action of the goalkeeper is considered a save or just a deliberate play of the ball. A ‘save’ is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).

If it is considered a save then there is no reset and offside continues to apply. If however it is a deliberate play of the ball and not a save then it is a reset.

So this will be a judgement call by a referee based on the circumstances.

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Offside Question?

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

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