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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34776

Law 11 - Offside 11/28/2022

RE: Competitive Adult

Peter Babbage of Hjorring, Denmark asks...

I’m wondering if I got it wrong all along or just not bang up to date.
I had this notion that if a player tries to score from an offside position (eg takes a swing at the ball or attempts to head it in whilst in an offside position that would be deemed an offence . My colleague disagrees saying that he must make contact with the ball or be in the line of sight of the keeper . I’m thinking that by attempting to score he is interfering with play

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
Law 11 expands on interfering with an opponent by outlining four conditions in which a player in an offside position can become involved in active play
They are
# preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
# challenging an opponent for the ball or
# clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
# making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.

Back in 2015 Benteke scored a goal for Liverpool v Bournemouth. See the video in this link
It was shown that a team mate in an offside position attempted to play the ball yet failed and the ball went to Benteke who was in an onside position and he scored. The goal was awarded.
Law 11 was subsequently updated to take account of the situations where PIOPs actions are shown to impact on an opponent. In the Liverpool goal the goalkeeper moved to anticipate the failed attempt to play the ball by the PIOP which then impacted on his ability to deal with the actual touch by the scorer. That would now be called as offside.
Now it is not a cover all condition as there can and will be times when a PIOP fails to play the ball which goes to an onside team mate where it has no impact on an opponent. That is not offside as the PIOP has not impacted on an opponent.
I was at a game yesterday where a PIOP on his own tried to reach a ball to play it yet failed and it went to an onside team mate. That was not offside as no opponent was impacted by the actions of the PIOP. The goalkeeper was 30 yards away while defenders where some 5/7 yards away and not impacted by the PIOP and the player who played the ball had come from an onside position so that should have been dealt with.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
attempting to score is not a condition of offside
generally, to be guilty of "interfering with play" a PHYSICAL touch of the ball MUST occur! When there is no opportunity by the PIOP attacker to interfere with defender, the action of just trying to play the ball itself is not involvement in that the action FAILS to touch the ball change or alter its course , Simply put, NO effect of outcome on what would occur if the PIOP had simply ceased to exist.

Perhaps you saw Ronaldo in the Portugal Uruguay match today jump up to head the ball his teammate crossed into the PA. Now IF he was offside restricted , he could be affecting the line of sight of the keeper which would still count as interfering with an opponent.

The thing was he TRIED to head (redirect the ball) but missed! The ball did NOT skim off his head it went directly into the corner of the goal so his attempt to play the ball fails and the fact is that ball was ALWAYS headed into the goal. Thus the goal would count
The same as if a PIOP chased a through ball that was on its way into the goal and tried to kick it but it bounced over his foot into the goal. As long as no defender was interfered with the fact the PIOP DID NOT touch the ball the goal would stand!

The opposite end of the spectrum it would not matter if the ball was going to enter into the goal under the crossbar between the posts and over the goal line & nothing the defenders could do would stop it but if a restricted PIOP happened to be trying to get out of the way and the ball just grazed him ever so slightly in that nothing truly changed. Boom, in fact this accidental insignificant touch means the goal cannot stand it would be an INDFK out for offside!

This is different than interfering with an opponent, just proximity and a noticeable effect of a PIOP impacting on the defender's ability to make a choice can occur with no touch of the ball required! As described by my Colleague Ref McHugh the fact a PIOP gained an advantage by interfering as the defender was trying to gain control.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34776
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

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Offside Question?

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

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