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Question Number: 34781

Law 11 - Offside 11/30/2022

RE: High School High School

Peter of Stockton, CA USA asks...

Could you please explain why Greizmann's goal in the France / Tunisa game was ruled off side? From my perspective:

Greizmann was in an off side position when the ball was initially played in, but he played no part in the play. The ball is then played out by a Tunisian defender, but it goes to Greizmann who is now on side as the latest play resets the off side line.

The only thing I can think of is that the referees decided that Griezmann was involved with play when the ball was played in, but I do not see how they can say that.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter

Grizmann did not interfere with an opponent in the sense that he challenged an opponent for the ball. I suspect that there is some WC referee group advice in there about PIOPs benefitting from being in an offside position

There was an incident in a Aston Villa v Manchester City in 2021 where a Man City PIOP Rodri came from an obvious offside position to win the ball from a Villa defender Mings who had controlled the ball which was also a deliberate play.

IFAB was asked about the decision to award the goal and it stated that "where a player in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball, the match officials should prioritise challenging an opponent for the ball, and thus the offside offence of 'interfering with an opponent by impacting on the opponent's ability to play the ball' should be penalised."

While not the same I suspect the spirit of that opinion is at the heart of this call.

Personally I think Offside Law 11 is all over the place and not fit for purpose. Given the few goals that are being scored there should be no way that this goal should have been ruled out for offside. I would go as far as to say that ANY touch of the ball by an opponents negates offside. It would be a whole lot easier then as it is not subjective.

See also question and answer 34779

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter
lots of what the ??? going on with this decision to be sure!
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 Peter,

Please refer to my answer to question # 34779 which lays out the reasons why I think this goal was incorrectly ruled out for an offside offence.

The only thing I would add, is to take ref McHugh's point about when a player "in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball." I actually agree with that reasoning but that's not what happened here. Griezmann did not "immediately impact on an opponent" and did not in any way, shape or form, challenge that opponent for the ball.

For me, this was a deliberate play on the ball by the defender based on the IFAB's own criteria, and a good goal.

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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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