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Question Number: 34780

Law 11 - Offside 11/30/2022

RE: Youth to adult, rec and competitive

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34776

The disallowed tying goal in the France-Tunisia game adds another wrinkle to the offside conversation.

Though VAR isn't concern for most of our reffing, I'd say it got it wrong here. Yes, Griezmann was clearly offside at the time of the kick, but he did not get involved in play until after the defender made a conscious effort to head the ball.

The explanation is that the defender saw Griezmann and this caused him to track back to cover him, even though the French player was clearly offside and would have been caught at it if he got immediately involved in play.

Is it not the case that the defender's header (which was not challenged by a PIOP) moved play into the next phase, removing Griezmann from offside consideration?

The ref and AR had it right, initially... and VAR threw a spanner in the works. No?

In the end, it meant nothing, as France was already moving on and Tunisia was bumped out by Australia's win. Tunisia's historic win will have an asterix after it.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry

We all know that from free kicks that attackers position themselves beyond the defensive line to avoid being marked and then wait for a second phase of play to get involved. I see no difference in this as Grizmann does not challenge an opponent and the play was a header which to me was a deliberate play albeit poorly.

I believe the goal should have counted yet I suspect that there is some *advice* lurking around in the FIFA World Cup refereeing group about these type of situations. My interest was peaked in a recent game where the referee seemed to speak to a PIOP beyond the offside line. It could not have been about the usual pushing instructions that all referees do as corners or free kick so I wonder.

See also question and answer 34779

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
Sigh our boys gave a decent effort but we were unlucky that first match and outcoached the second. Going to be tough aa Moracco has a lot to play for whereas it's a done deal for us .

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 Griezmann 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 Barry,
I agree with my esteemed colleague ref McHugh that this was a good goal. Please see my answer to question #34779 for a full explanation of why I think so.

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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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