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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34779

Law 11 - Offside 11/30/2022

RE: Competitive Adult

Marv of Bowmanville, Ontario Canada asks...

RE: France vs Tunisia World Cup 2022

In the final minute France scored a goal that was ruled offside. IMHO the Tunisian defender played the ball. Does deliberately playing the ball not negate the offside offence? Please give me your thoughts. The current version of the offside law has been baffled.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Marv
The decision to disallow the goal has caused a great deal of controversy and France has protested the decision to FIFA

A deliberate play is a hugely subjective area of the offside law, which is why referee Matthew Conger of New Zealand had to go to the pitchside monitor to make the decision.

I suspect that the decision was made on the basis that the defender was not fully in control of his actions and therefore the header was not deemed a deliberate play.
This advice was given to referees earlier this year
The following criteria should be used, as appropriate, as indicators that a player was in control of the ball and, as a result, ‘deliberately played’ the ball:

# The ball travelled from distance and the player had a clear view of it
# The ball was not moving quickly
#The direction of the ball was not unexpected
# The player had time to coordinate their body movement, i.e. it was not a case of instinctive stretching or jumping, or a movement that achieved limited contact/control
# A ball moving on the ground is easier to play than a ball in the air

IFABs own video shows such an action as a delibereate play

There is a view in the game at the law making level on the spirit and intention of the offside law and how a player becomes involved in the game from an offside position is most important. One can argue that Grizmann benefitted from his offside position and therefore gained an advantage by being in an offside position, Throw in point 4 above and I suspect that is the answer that VAR came up with

Personally I think that the header began a new phase of play as per the IFAB video and Grizmann should not have been penalised for offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Marv,
Just remember we are not the VAR or FIFA so we have no 100% reason for why they do as they do but we can explain the thought processes they might consider in rendering their decision.

it was interesting, the fact is there were several French players marginally off or onside above Griezman who was the only FRENCH PLAYER CLEARLY OFFSIDE. If we assume he was guilty of gaining an advantage, then the defender's heading action was either deemed a deliberate save or a deflection/rebound, neither reset the restriction a PIOP is under. Given the ball would not have scored as it was across the face of goal it is fairly easy to rule it as not a deliberate save. So was it considered a non deliberate action? Instead judged as a n instinctive intuitive reaction of a falling defender thus a deflection/rebound?

As my Colleague Ref McHugh subscribes if it was deemed a deliberate play then the goal should count as it was a reset of the restriction.

There is another albeit slender chance that if the #12 attacker challenging who bundled over the defender onto the ground that would be interfering with an opponent if he was MARGINALLY offside when that ball was played in.

A head lean perhaps? The offside is in the millimeters of separation now with VAR as to PLAYABLE body parts?

Then too perhaps a foul for a push? I know the goal was ruled out but was the restart offside INDFK not a DFK out? I did not see the signal.

There were 2 more French attackers slightly up from the #12 attacker who were possibly in the line of sight with the keeper as the ball was played in. They looked marginally offside, yet I think too far away from the ball flight coming across to be considered.

The French soccer federation filed a protest claiming the goal was “unfairly refused” apparently saying the referee Conger restarted the match then blew the final whistle and after he consulted VAR and ruled out Griezmann's goal?


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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Thanks for the question. It's offside for me.

First off, let's be clear that the goalscorer was offside at the moment of the kick. It had a touch from the defender, so we need to decide whether that touch should negate offside.

The LOTG state that if a defender plays the ball, then this negates any offside - except if it's a save (a ball going into or very close to goal). Clearly it's not going very close to goal so not a save, so is it a play?

Play has been defined as a deliberate action towards the ball. So, a defender making a desperate, stretching lunge to a ball going past and getting a toe on it would count as a play, negating offside, even though they have no chance of control - essentially, defenders were being punished for doing their job.

In July this year, IFAB released additional instructions which meant that in the context of offside, 'plays' now means a controlled play - or a reasonable chance of control.

So, the aforementioned desperate lunge? No longer a play. Same as a leap for a header that's too high and skims off the head. Another example given is when there's a deflection at close range or the defender's view is blocked until the last moment. There are other examples - eg ball coming at a difficult angle.

So now, the referee needs to consider whether the defender had a reasonable chance of control.

Now, if a defender backtracks to a header and they're constantly backtracking and leaping off balance as a result, that's probably not a play. If they backtrack, position themselves under the ball, wait for it to approach then reconsider their position at the last moment and are off balance, that's a play for me.

However, in this case, the (onside) attacker next to the defender actually pushes him, 2-handed, in the chest. Personally, I think it's a good case for a foul, but that's not important for now. Even if it's not a foul, the attacker's actions were what put the defender off balance. As a result, the defender has had no reasonably opportunity to control the ball, which is why this header doesn't negate offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Marv,

I'm going to side with ref McHugh (and you) on this one. For me, looking at the five criteria listed by the IFAB in his answer, none of them can be used to say this was not a deliberate play. Taking them one by one (and "borrowing" from a colleague on another forum):

"It came from distance and the defender had a clear view of it.
It wasn't moving quickly, no more so than a "normal" cross.
The direction of the ball wasn't at all unexpected.
The player had penalty of time to see the ball come in.
It was in the air, but so are most crosses."

So for me, and based on the written guidelines given by the IFAB themselves, this was a deliberate play which "reset" offside and the goal should have counted.

I understand there is a question of whether there was actually a foul by a different, onside-positioned player - I had not looked at any replays that speak to that and if that had been given, we might be having a different discussion (over whether it was a clear and obvious error not to give the foul, for instance) but that wasn't the decision. It was given as offside which as I say, I think is incorrect.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

you can see the panel is puzzled by the decision given! We really do not know or are privy to the FIFA /VAR and officials reasoning!

Under the LOTG you cannot award an INDFK for offside if there is an attacking DFK foul before any offside involvement. That could be for the plausible careless push by the #12 French attacker on the defender who attempted to clear the ball

The actual goal scorer who was CLEARLY offside when the team mates cross came in was NO longer in that position once the ball was played or struck the head of the defender. If there WAS a reset for a new touch of the ball the goal SHOULD have stood as the goal scorer was further away than the 2nd last opponent from the goal line.

The fact the goal did not stand obviously something else is being claimed other then the determination of the defender acting in a deliberate fashion, because if this was true then that resets offside for the opposition and the goal should count.

Clearly if this #12 attacker was offside on the initial cross that would constitute interfere with an opponent but we are fairly certain #12 was onside and onside attackers can attempt to challenge a n opponent ,

Some discussion revolves around is a fair charge by an onside opponent the upsets the equilibrium of a defender creating a deflection/rebound instead of a deliberate play?

The fact the goal was taken away leads us to theorize the defender's ATTEMPTED header, compromised by the contact of a French attacker. was an instinctive reaction thus not a deliberate mistake out of desperation. Thus, offside by reasoning of gaining an advantage off a deflection is our best guess as we saw no evidence of a foul being awarded for a push by the #12 attacker.

From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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