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Question Number: 35295

High School 12/26/2023



I recently took my annual re-certification test which included the following question:
Team A is awarded a corner kick. B1 goalkeeper is one yard off the goal line. B2, second to last defender is 3 yards off the goal line. A2 is on the goal line. A1 takes the corner and it goes to A3 who passes it to A2 who shoots and scores.
a. Goal
b. No goal since A1 was offside
c. No goal. Caution A1 for deliberately creating an offside situation and award an indirect free kick
I picked "b" and got it wrong with the indication the correct answer was "a". How can it be? If A2 had received the ball directly from the corner kick, he would not have committed an offside offense. But the ball was passed from A3. Now, if A3 was also in the goal line, then it's conceivable the ball would have been parallel to both players, which would then make it a legal play. But the question does not specify where A3 was. So even though I am assuming A2 committed an offside offense (b), it seems equally incorrect to assume he wasn't (a). What am I missing?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jose,
Best of the new year to you .
Kudos for staying current as an official.

As described the question you presented and the answers you provide do not fit the circumstances actually there is no real correct answer as this question is poorly structured

The answers you claim to be provided are
(1) Goal
(2) No goal A1 offside
(3) No goal A1 left the FOP for some obscure reasoning that applies more so to the B team?

The simple facts are answers 2 and 3 make NO SENSE thus by having two answers that are impossible to arrive at perhaps that is why (1) GOAL is their choice? Even if offside positioned AFTER the initial corner kick, A1 is NOT involved in the outcome of play but for answer 1 GOAL to be correct, we need to know certain things left unsaid or left out of this situation ?

We KNOW 100%, if the ball had gone straight to A2 from A1 it would be a good goal as NO initial offside restriction applies! A1 CAN NOT be offside at the taking of the corner kick no one can as it is one of the three exemptions!

You made some fundamental observations .
Question gives no indication of who moved or where they moved too if indeed anyone did!
We KNOW 100% A3 was free to receive it from A1 on the initial corner . A3 CAN NOT be offside at the taking of the corner kick, no one can, as it is one of the three exemptions!
That is unless he was off the FOP and snuck onto the FOP using deception in which case he would be sanctioned for USB and no goal would be permitted .

Although once again A2 CAN NOT be offside at the taking of the corner kick, no one can, as it is one of the three exemptions!
So the question is now "Where was A2 WHEN A3 passed it over, in relationship to the ball at A3s feet & or the 2nd last opponent as to which or who is closer to the opposing goal line?"

That last touch pass by A3 is the FREEZE FRAME picture moment to see who or what is where in relationship to that goal line ?
AFTER A3 plays the ball initiating offside criteria to be evaluated, A1 COULD be offside positioned but there is nothing about his involvement?

IF A2 is still ON the goal line, it seems an impossibility for him to receive a pass where he is NOT offside positioned UNLESS there were two opponents inside the netted area or on the goal line with him or he was not ahead of the ball nearer to that goal line but if standing on it??

Could it be a missed description in the wording incorrectly stated a positional misrepresentation as to the location of the 2nd last opponent"

Keeper off the goal line by 1 yard
Second last opponent is 3 yds off the goal line

One would think/assume they are centerline side on the FOP inside the 6 yard goal area within the PA .
Could they be into touch, inside the netted area, outside the FOP and thus for the purposes of offside, considered as ON the goal line with A2?
Best write the testers and ask . Plainly it is confusing as it is written!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jose,
I don't think you've missed anything much. If the facts stated in the question are right, then as I read it, the answer they have given is incorrect.

Having said that, it seems there is no correct answer available. As I said, based on the stated facts, it can't be a goal. But "b" isn't correct either. A1 is the player taking the corner and can't possibly be offside. "C" is also incorrect - firstly A1 isn't offside and secondly there's no such thing as an indirect free kick for deliberately creating an offside situation.

I also think the question is poorly worded anyway. As you allude to, there are not enough details given. For instance, the positions of the players are not adequately specified. It says where the players are before the corner kick is taken but that is not when the offside judgment needs to be made. What we need to know is the relative positions of the players at the time when A3 passes the ball to A2.

P.S. Looking at it again, I think it's very possible in answers "b" and "c" that it should be A2 that is referenced. If so, then you would be correct that "b" is the right answer - again supposing that B1, B2 and A2 have remained motionless since before the corner kick which is a) not specified and b) not likely.

One way that "a" might possibly be the right answer is if, after the corner kick was taken and before A3 touched the ball, A2 had moved to a position 3 yards or more off the goal line, while B1 and B2 had remained in the same positions. That's not stated as the case though, so again, maybe there's some information missing from the question?

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jose,

None of these answers are correct - it can't be A1 offside as they're taking the CK.
As described, A2 is in an offside position, given the 2nd last defender is 3 yards off the goal line, and as the goalscorer, A2 has becoming involved in active play.

Having said that, this does depend in the position of A3. If A3 makes the pass from the goal line, then A2 is not in an offside position as they are level with the ball. But, this is unlikely - however, it's the only way A can be correct.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jose
It is conceivable that a recertification question answer can be wrong or marked incorrectly or just very poorly worded. One year we had an error in a question yet it was picked up later in the process which was too late for the early tests.
I suspect your recollection from the way the questions and answers are phrased that it maybe somewhat hazy or typo errors such as A1 creating an offside position?
Answer B would be a clear incorrect answer as sure A1 took the corner kick. Offside could not even apply!!
On answer C, one assumes you mean B2 who is the defender off the field of play?
There is no position mentioned for A3. If that was the case in the question then obviously a very poorly worded question and incomplete to give a definitive answer.

What we can discern from the question is
1. B2 can be placed on the goal line for offside calculation purposes. Does it require a caution as that is required for an IDFK? In the real world a referee should ask B2 to move on to the FOP before the corner kick.
2. We can assume if there was no offside by Team A based on B2s position plus another opponent so that advantage can be played.

I would say that if there was only three possible answers then B and C can be possibly viewed as wrong so the only possible answer left is A which makes the assumption that the scorer was in an onside position based on B2 plus an opponent.

I recall many certification exams and I tried to get all the answers correct. Any that I did get wrong was due to misreading the question with a brain fog moment. After a reread when the answers were given out made me realise that I had misread the question. It was not that I did not know the Law just not taking the time to study the question fully.
I also found that some examiners tended to give easy incorrect answers to assist in identifying the correct answer by a process of elimination with say only one correct answer.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


I understand why you are concerned. Insufficient information is provided and the answer provided by the FHSAA from the information given is incorrect.

The correct answer from the information provided is: No goal since A2 is offside. However, the position of A2 at the time of the pass to A2 from A3 is not provided so this answer may also not be correct.

Having been involved for many years in the writing of high school re-certification exams, I am aware that exam errors do occur and they are found because officials like you question an answer. I, therefore, recommend you let the FHSAA soccer coordinator Alex Ozuna know about your concerns. Alex can be reached by email at: Hopefully, you will contact him and get this question clarified.

Have a very successful remainder of the Florida High School Soccer Season.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hello Jose,
what are you missing? Hmmm.
As you can surmise from the depth of the responses we have some misgivings with either your recollection or the way this question was put together.
Offside is exempt on the corner kick but in play, once a new player makes contact with the incoming ball for the REST of his or her team mates. It has been pointed out to you fairly clearly that since answers 2 & 3 identifying A1, of all players, as a reason, are not plausible for why a Goal could be disallowed leaving only a GOAL as plausible even if woefully short of information. I would think if you investigate into the matter with your association you might find the question could be removed or structured differently if it is indeed worded as you have stated! Often test questions, if difficult to grasp, are more of a word salad issue rather then painting a clear picture of an event, so do not get to upset. I see A1 mentioned far too much here and nothing of A3?
From our pitch to your pitch in the Spirit of Fair play.

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