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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34851

Law 11 - Offside 1/27/2023

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

This question is a follow up to question 34849

Thank you gentlemen. I will allow myself to conclude. This topic came to my mind when I watched Mbappe on the counter attack. Let's say the player runs at a speed of 30 km/h.

And now a bit of physics, which is taught here in elementary school. I hope I can still do it. :-)

30 km/h = 8.33 m/s = 833 cm/s

In 0.1 second it makes 83.3 centimeters!

In 0.01 second it makes 8.33 centimeters!

In 0.001 second it makes 0.833 centimeter!

I'd really like to meet a referee who freezes an image to the exact thousandth of a second. I personally assume that at these speeds they are on average about half a meter wrong. :-) And then they show us on the screen that it was exactly twelve centimeters offside :-)

No problem, have a good time!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Without doubt the technology is flawed to the extent that there is the potential for a lack of precision based on when the VAR operator freezes the frame. We have seen such tight ones that has a player’s foot or armpit putting them offside. VAR officials knows this and all we see is the grainy image with the appropriate lines. Even the lines can be an issue as they can cover centimetres of playing distance which is why some thicker lines have been used.
This is well known to VAR and allowance is made for this.

I have a strong suspicion that Law 11 could be amended this year at the IFAB AGM. We shall see.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
it is obvious to us by your questions & comments, we all share a dedication and passion for the beautiful game. In trying to understand the LOTG and the changes made we often wrestle with the fine tuning of the meaning of the actual wording and the implementation of the laws in a real time match. If you read any answer I have on the offside question I have always maintained the when in doubt keep it down philosophy as you are spot on when it comes to deciding offside in millimeters & centimeters is ridiculous at any NORMAL football match. ONLY freeze frame reverse play Video slow motion VAR technology and even then the hanging toenail offsides are STILL ridiculous in my opinion. Totally agree no referee has the ability to see, analyze compute and recognize if an offside position at highspeed can be defined with the tolerances mentioned! Lol Not sure how or if they will address this in any practical way. But for me, I live and die by the, when in doubt do not wave it about, to err on a good goal not given, versus a bad goal allowed. I apply it equally to both sides consequences be damned!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Petr,

This is a complaint that a lot of people have about VAR. You have 2 combined issues,
1 is that sport is usually shot at 50 or 60 frames per second. As you've noted, you can actually have movement between frames.
2 - sometimes I wonder how VAR can tell if the ball is touching the foot, or if it's just very close to the foot. We've had times in Australia where what was clearly the wrong frame has inexplicably been used - but there has also been a number of times where the ball is sort of between the foot and the camera, and made me wonder how certain we are that there is contact in that frame.

Both of those combine to create what is, in the opinion of myself and many fans, a certain margin of error - especially when offsides are measured with such fine lines. We have not yet had an adequate explanation on whether or not these margins are accounted for - and if so, how. I think in some leagues they use thicker lines when measuring to build in some buffer there.

In saying that, HawkEye - the software used for offside - is a highly reputable company with many years of experience on sport technology, and there were huge amounts of money spent in developing the offside system. So, I can only presume that the company has thought of and considered this. I just wish we would see some public acknowledgement of this concern that many fans have.

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Offside Question?

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

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