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Question Number: 35530

Law 11 - Offside 5/23/2024

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

This question is a follow up to question 35527


A similar situation was in the European League final (at match time 90:00, potential penalty check)

Schick was in a small offside close to the opponent. The defender headed towards Hlozek. Hlozek was in contact with another defender. When the defender headed, Schick was far away.

Our 'famous' commentator told us that it was a foul, but because of Schick's offside there will be no penalty. But this commentator is often wrong and probably made me stupid again :-)

Unfortunately I don't have a video. Maybe you can find it somewhere.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr ,
it is is a bit ironic, no sarcasm intended, that those who commentate on a game they are supposed to understand, are frequently wrong. You know that simply being in an offside position is NOT the offence! INVOLVEMENT is the offence! The question is DID the PIOP interfere with the ability of the defender(s) to get to or be able to play the ball? The fact there are additional components after mean nothing if the PIOP was not involved in the outcome.

One thing that offside evaluators watching have a GREAT deal of difficulty with, is when the offside attacker is on the move towards the ball from a position unseen by the defender or there is a head on rush to get to the ball by a defender and a PIOP. The referee or AR are concerned for the safety of the defender to not be run into by an offside PIOP attacker who is in effect NOT allowed to play the ball because he is restricted! So we can blow the whistle LONG before this danger is a real threat or we can determine that there is sufficient distance that the defender can easily play that ball without much trouble. Like a keeper hauls the ball in and the AR with Flag up but the CR says or waves play on. The Keeper/defenders become confused thinking indfk out and the keeper tosses the ball to a defender who catches it. That is a DFK offence for deliberate handling and yet do you think the referee should give it? Given the defenders were mistaken of the CR intentions to continue play but only thinking the AR signalled offside? Yet there was NO whistle??? The old axiom PLAY to the WHISTLE! If the referee has not blown the whistle always assume play is potentially active!

Another difficult evaluation is when the PIOP is actually right tight into direct proximity where a struggling defender attempting to bring the ball under control can immediately be stripped of the ball by the PIOP directly infringing his personal space so to speak. Even if the PIOP was not directly competing at the moment the ball was first arriving. I suppose in life as in soccer there will always be debate about yes or no decisions that are in fact blended grey! Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Yes I saw the incident you refer to yet I cannot see any video of it.

From recollection there appeared to be a Bayer Leverkusen player in an offside position when the ball was played into the penalty area. By the time the ball got to that location the PIOP had moved forward some 3 to 4 metres away from the defender who clashed with a team mate. The AR did not flag and then the penalty incident happened with the ball being cleared away.

When play was stopped for the VAR review of the penalty incident it would have been interesting had the contact been deemed a foul. I think it was dismissed as not a foul so the offside part was mute.
It did raise a point which happened in a Scottish Premier League game this season where a possible handling penalty claim was ruled out by VAR. It was not considered handling yet some suggested that even if it was handling there was a possible offside in the build up. That though was not part of the VAR discussion so perhaps much like this one that as the penalty was not going to be given there was no need to go back further to any possible offside.
For some that does not sit well as there is the potential to be dismissive of a penalty claim as the opinion may be that offside will be called anyway yet will it if the situation is correctly assessed?

From my recollection it was not offside anyway as there was no interference with the defenders by the PIOP. Simply stopping a ball going towards a PIOP is not enough for offside and being in an offside position is not an offence. Had the through ball made it to the PIOP then offside would have been called methinks based on the positioning I saw yet it was not clearly shown with the gridlines to assess it.

As regards any remarks by a commentator those may not be accurate as many do not know the detail of the law. In the distant past it was a possible offside yet not any longer.

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