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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34925

Law 11 - Offside 3/19/2023

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Offside - what are we missing in this call.

In the recent Nottingham Forest v Newwe all know what that means).

With a new season of local park footy about to start down here, there has been plenty of discussion on this one, and to a person, no one could see the justification for the offside.

Every person asked felt the defender made a deliberate play at the ball and therefore resetting the phase. No one is of the thinking that it was deflection to the PIOP.

Everyone is of the thinking that there was enough distance (and time) between the attackers flat cross and the defender to give the defender ample time make a conscious and deliberate mental and physical response to the cross - to adjust his footwork to extend a leg out in an attempt to block/kick away the cross.

Watching live - very briefly I thought maybe it was considered a 'save' by the defender - but that ball was not travelling to goal, nor very close to the goal.

We are all perplexed on this one, so what are we missing.

P.S - it's been awhile - hope all are well.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I was wondering when that incident was going to be raised.

I watched the game live and I was sure that the goal was going to stand, I was extremely surprised that VAR intervened and that the referee was asked to review it!

The decision hinges on whether the contact by the Forest defender was a rebound or a deliberate play. There is a second Red play which resulted in the ball being deflected off the PIOP to a NUFC team mate with play continuing. That second play was close enough for interfering with an opponent by the PIOP. However the defining moment was the play by the first Red defender

To my way of interpretation it was a deliberate play. This is what IFAB has to say and I quote

***‘Deliberate play’ is when a player has control of the ball with the possibility of:

passing the ball to a team-mate or
gaining possession of the ball or
clearing the ball (e.g. by kicking or heading it).

If the pass, attempt to gain possession or clearance by the player in control of the ball is inaccurate or unsuccessful, this does not negate the fact that the player ‘deliberately played’ the ball.

The following criteria should be used, as appropriate, as indicators that a player was in control of the ball and, as a result, ‘deliberately played’ the ball:

The ball travelled from distance and the player had a clear view of it
The ball was not moving quickly
The direction of the ball was not unexpected
The player had time to coordinate their body movement, i.e. it was not a case of instinctive stretching or jumping, or a movement that achieved limited contact/control
A ball moving on the ground is easier to play than a ball in the air**

So there is nothing in that statement by IFAB that negates a deliberate play in my opinion. Some are saying that the player stretches and sure that can be part of any play. To me he has time to kick the ball and it happens to go towards the Newcastle player who was in an offside position from the original cross and the ball was played by a second Forest player which deflected off the PIOP.
Luckily for the game Newcastle won the game with a late penalty and any "upset" was somewhat quelled. Had Newcastle not won the game the outcry would have been much louder.

To my way of thinking IFAB needs to take out this subjective part of Law 11 and make it simpler. If an opponent plays the ball in any fashion other than a goalkeeper it should be a reset. As it stands I can say it was not a deliberate play while others can say it was deliberate and neither would be wrong. If it can be done for not handling by an attacker irrespective of deliberate or not which results in a goal then the same could apply to this offside section. If its played in any fashion except by the goalkeeper it should be a reset. That would solve these subjective calls yet unlikely to happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Russell,
thanks for the kind words hope all is good for you down under!
Yup it was a iffy one to be sure! 38 red stopped a blue cross and redirected the ball to blue 36 who was offside restricted due to his position at the time of the cross.
In NO WAY was it a deliberate SAVE!
The PIOP was involved!
Was the restriction reset by the actions of #38 red or not?
Is it debatable if that redirect off 38 red's foot was a deflection/rebound or a deliberate play?
My esteemed colleague Ref McHugh laid out how the LOTG request we use our discretion to JUDGE YES or NO!
Based on the explained criteria, to your own understanding, do YOU think it was a instinctive reflex or an attempt to clear?
There are issues with subjective opinions in situations where the player has effectively demonstrated only a limited version of control.
Was it a deliberate mistake or an instinctive reaction?

If you are the CR, given the VAR pushed back on the initial non decision, are you rethinking an original opinion that there was no offside, or, are you using the intervention to make the decision? We are tasked with wait and see as ARs if there is doubt but I often think the VAR overreach to correct us affects the CR decision at times.

Whether they decide to rethink the criteria based on a GREATER degree of CONTROL to reset or go the opposite way and ANY discernable movement towards the ball to reposition yourself to play the ball is in fact a reset no matter if you regain control or not.

Perhaps it might make it easier to state if a defender only has contact with ball but exhibits no discernable control to touch it a 2nd time, then a clear header or a clear kicking motion were involved could be the only two actions to reset? Yet even then we are sure to have the incident debated. lol

As my colleague stated the agreeable score line at 2-1 likely quieted 0r pushed off a possible contentious agenda because this is a broken part of current offside law.


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