Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34785

Law 11 - Offside 12/1/2022

RE: Competitive Adult

Marv of Bowmanville, Ontario Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34779

Oddly enough after I posted my question, I turned on the Canadian post-match TV report and immediately saw (Ontario Canada) FIFA Referee Joe Fletcher answering the same question. Referee Fletcher indicated that FIFA issued a policy statement prior to the World Cup which effectively said: "any play of the ball by a defending player who is being challenged by an attacking opponent will not negate (or reset) the play for the purpose of offside". Was such a policy statement issued? Also...any chance FIFA will fix this confusion with yet another change to the Offside Law?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Marv

I quoted from the IFAB circular in my answer which was issued in Juy

I am not aware of any formal IFAB communication about an onside attacking opponent challenging for the ball negating offside.

Now as I also said FIFA can advise referees through its senior group how it wishes the IFAB circular to be implemented or indeed other parts of the Law. We are now seeing up to 10 minutes of added time which obviously is advice to referees as to how FIFA wants it handled. As always I think referees have been lenient with the issue of cards which is a follow on from the last WC. Advice on the deliberate handling law may also have been given. The penalty award in the Portugal v Uruguay game was never deliberate handling yet it was given so I suspect VAR and the referee was following tournament *advice*

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Marv,
The INSTRUCTIONS given to WC referees at the WC are likely inhouse communications or clarifications we are not privy too! As my colleague Ref McHugh mentioned the 10 minutes extra time periods far more in keeping with actual wasted time!

I have not seen a document stating exactly what Mr. Fletcher alluded to but I have seen read and scrutinized the documents indicating if a PIOP (a restricted player) was to interfere by way of proximity to take advantage and gain immediate possession that was flagged as offside but this bit about an onside NON restricted attacker fairly charging challenging a defender who is deliberately playing the ball causing him to lose possession and that ball deflecting or rebounding to a PIOP still restricted as the deliberate play was compromised by the challenge thus not resetting the offside restriction is a new wrinkle.

One could see #12 attacker push careless FOUL causing the defender to fall AHEAD of the ball contact So a DFK out . A DFK out for what might be trifling except for the fact it changed the control issue on offside. That is NOW an offside criteria to see it as a deflection?

We are arguing two distinct things a foul versus criteria of offside that enables us to see the ball off the head as a deflection NOT a deliberate controlled play .

I tend to think the control issue is once again being argued as to what is designated as a deliberate action in choice, versus an instinctive reaction of an unsettled player deflecting the ball.

Take this SAME scenario but leave Griezmann in an offside position much closer to the goal and the ball off the defender's head instead goes in towards goal tapped in by Griezmann whereas in reality it rebounded out and away to Griezmann who was no longer in an offside position. The optics look very bad in the first one not so much the second which was why the goal initially stood YET the identifying reasoning is a NOT DELIBERATE ACTION due to active interference in a challenge for control for an offside INDFK out. The direction of the ball or status of the PIOP on the FOP play no part. A deflection does NOT change offside status for those so designated as restricted PIOPs.
I think that is the message here! sigh We all expect some offside re-evaluation after this WC once again lol

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Marv,

Interestingly, the IFAB slides that were released in July to demonstrate the updated definition of 'playing the ball' had one example where an onside attacker was being challenged by a defender behind him, the defender kicked the ball and this was considered playing the ball, so negating the offside.

Unfortunately there isn't commentary so we don't know what the reasoning there is - my takeaway is that a challenge might, or might not, affect the play. World Cup referees all go through quite a bit of additional training in the leadup so I'm sure had this discussed.

In the WC example, I would say it does - the defender is just going up for a header when they're pushed by the opponent, putting them off balance (now, I think that was a foul, but even if it wasn't, it still affected the defender). If they've been put off balance in the air, do they really have an opportunity to control the ball?

I would say no, so it's a good decision for me.

Ultimately, this and several other issues highlight the problem of VAR decisions not being explained to fans.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34785
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>