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Question Number: 35323

Mechanics 1/11/2024

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...


Player A11 receives a pass in an offside position but the offside offence is missed on the pitch. Player A11 crosses the ball, player B2 deliberately handles the ball, which is also missed on the pitch, and the ball goes out for a corner kick.

Assume that VAR is active and warns the central referee about the offside and the potential penalty. In this case, what should be the correct restart, corner kick for team A or indirect free kick for team B (for offside offence).

Also, should the referee caution player B2 for deliberate handball?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Crebs,
Firstly, it's not an offence to receive the ball in an offside position. It's only an offence if the player was in an offside position when the ball was last touched by a team mate and then becomes involved in active play.

So if the VAR check revealed that's what happened, and that there was an offside offence before the handball offence, the correct restart would be an indirect free kick for team B.

As described in the final VAR protocol document issued by the IFAB before VAR was officially adopted, once informed of the offside offence:

"The referee the has 2 options depending on how ‘clear’ the missed penalty error was and the   
state/atmosphere of the game:

• initiate a review knowing it will result in a decision that there was an offside before the ‘missed’ penalty so no penalty is awarded (but everything is clear to everyone) or
• inform the captain of the team that would have been awarded the penalty that there was an offside before the ‘penalty’ so the penalty would not have been awarded"

Player B2 does not need to be cautioned for deliberate handball. Firstly, it is not a cautionable offence simply to deliberately handle the ball and even if the handball offence appeared to have stopped a promising attack or to have denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity at the time, no cards are needed because the law says disciplinary actions for those two kinds of offences (but only those) are rescinded after a VAR review shows an earlier offence by the opponent

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Assuming that there was indeed an offside offence by A11 the only possible decision is an IDFK to the defence for offside.

Most VAR managed games are covered by TV so it will be clear that the first offence would be offside and that is the offence that will be punished. Its a fairly straight forward decision as VAR is like any other match official that brings additional information to the attention of the referee.

Without VAR an assistant would be informing the referee of the offside by way of a raised flag which if missed would be brought to the referees attention before the next restart.

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