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: 34849

Law 11 - Offside 1/25/2023

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34838

I understand you gentlemen. Neverthless, I specified the time of those situations.

1) The goalkeeper starts the throw movement in time 35:42. The ball leaves hand in time 35:43. Is the crucial point at 35:42 or 35:43?

2) The attacker puts the ball on the instep in time 35:42. The ball sits on his instep until time 35:44. In time 35:44 he starts a passing motion and the ball leaves his foot at 35:45. Is the crucial point at 35:42 or 35:44 or 35:45?

After all, in one second the attacker can be several metres closer to the goal. In my opinion, this is simply not a theoretical situation, but completely practical one. These 'crucial first points' decide whether a teammate is in offside position or not.


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr ,
the critical component to FREEZE frame the POSITION of a PIOP would be when the ball is being compressed and leaving the body of the teammate to be redirected elsewhere. Forget instep, think body part, as head, chest, knee as any part of a body can be the source of a last touch or play from a teammate.

You correctly indicate players and ball are in MOTION so while VAR can effectively stop play to analyze, fundamentally on the FOP you need some sort of measuring stick that is consistent.

You are NOT evaluating & freeze framing the FOP for the PIOP as the Keeper's arm is going back, only after the arm starts forward which is creating the release point of a last touch/play is the Freeze frame picture taken. Would you start at 35:30 when the keeper has the ball in his hand then holds the ball until 41:30 before throwing it? In my opinion the eye height release is the precise moment on the long throw or the windmill though over the shoulder creates the release point but the throw was started earlier. In my opinion the essence of the throw is when forward movement is initiated so if an arm is cocked back at 35:42 and forward the extended arm is at 35.43 Then the start of that throw is that timeline, not necessarily the time when he transferred it from two hands to one and drew it back in preparation. My reasoning is the ball is not yet exiting possession until the transfer of forward momentum which could be delayed if he sought a player to heave it too within that 6 seconds permitted in law! Yet usually longer!

A player completing a movement to pass the ball using an instep type pass could draw the ball back and push the foot forward until there is a ACTUAL separation of ball and foot as the ball rolls away from a PUSH versus a kick.

You get the difference?
Right, one has the foot in contact pushing it along, the other is more boom, away it goes.

One is instantaneous the other just like a arm swing to release has continued contact just as the foot pushes the ball until it leaves the the foot so here again 35:44 he starts a passing motion and the ball leaves his foot at 35:45. I go with the 35:44.

Yet if the ball was stationary or separate from the foot and he drew the leg back at 35.44 then advanced the leg to kick it. I would say when the foot contacts the ball is that critical moment not the leg swing back

Personally I find the term in the LOTG of last contact to be absolute as it refers to the- Moment the ball is played or touched* Note the asterisk star notation which is the one creating doubt.

*The first point of contact of the ‘play’ or ‘touch’ of the ball should be used.

I see it as saying the foot pushing, or the arm casting forward are the exact moments of the release as the ball is on its way from one teammate to another because momentarily there is an overlap where contact would be difficult to separate with any real certainty so a player dribbling, pulls the ball back say to avoid a challenge then swings the leg forward to push the ball on its way that forward swing is the last touch, not the drag back.

I get you are trying to define an exact moment to know to freeze frame the FOP for an OFFSIDE PIOP evaluation. But consider the release point of a keeper who bounces the ball catches it, then tosses it out in front of him, then kicks it. The KICK is the final touch agreed?
Now instead, he bounces it, looks up catches it with both hands but transfers it to one hand then cocks the arm and throws it downfield. Should we start the PIOP evaluation the moment it is in one hand, as the arm goes back, or when it comes forward? For me the release, play, last touch, is the arm moving forward allowing the ball to exit the hand.

I have to wonder, there was a push for daylight on offside in both ball exiting and opposing player separation as a rational for the moment of release and position on the FOP given equal and leaning playable body parts are often simply undiscernible WITHOUT VAR in real time. The ability to process and watch two separate events (ball contact & another player(s) position), to determine if an infringement might occur in terms of human capabilities was always skewered into when in doubt do not wave it about. This attempt to settle that doubt may not have been worded exactly as they thought it to be implemented! Not that what I say is the be all end all but as referee if you apply exactly the same standard to the offside for team A or B as a JUDGEMENT call who is going to argue? Cheers

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Technology is improving all the time. During the World Cup FIFA tested semi automatic offside where data was used both from player positions and from the ball which has a sensor inside it. That contact on the ball sensor determines the moment the ball is played / touched. It was shown that in the Ronaldo" goal" in the game with Uruguay from a cross by Fernandez that Ronaldo did not touch the ball.

Where that technology is not available we have to make a judgement as to the moment of the play / touch of the ball.
On the first one as the ball is in the hand it would be the moment of the throw which would be the time the ball leaves the hand so the freeze frame would be taken with the ball on the hand @ 35.42
On the second one the same principle would apply which for me would be 35.44. I cannot see who the ball could be in the foot for teo seconds without multiple touches. So its the moment the contact on the ball to play it which counts.

So the freeze frame picture will show the ball in first contact with the head or foot. Any freeze frame video has the ball at the foot / head as the moment of contact to determine offside. If there is a difference it is up to the operator to determine the correct moment based on the advice.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34849
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

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

See Question: 34851

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 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.