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Question Number: 19478

Law 11 - Offside 6/22/2008

RE: Adult

Jim Prunier of new providence, nj usa asks...

The ASKASOCCERREFEREE.com site gave five scenarios pertinent to the recent EURO 2008 game where Italian defender Panucci was beyond the goal line after getting knocked down by his own goalie and the ball was passed to Dutch player van Nistlerooy was ruled as onside; Panucci being taken as active for purposes of offside determination. Five scenarios were presented but number five is confusing. The askasoccerreferee site offers no explanation or response when querried.

Can you please explain what this advice is saying?
===========================================
"5. The Italian defender is clearly injured and off the field of play
The referee makes a decision that the defender is seriously injured and cannot return to play by himself. Once the referee has acknowledged the seriousness of the injury, the player may not participate in the play and must not be considered to be in active play (at this point, he would not be considered in determining offside position and should not be considered in the equation as either the first or second last opponent). For purposes of Law 11, the defender is considered to be on the goal line for calculating offside position. This player, however, may not return to play without the referee's permission. Remember, the referee is instructed in Law 5 to stop the game only for serious injury."
===========================================
Thanks, Jim Prunier

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
Mr Jim Allen is the official source of USSF policy and procedures that USA referees are held accountable to follow. Nothing they publish is in conflict with FIFA directives and any changes or errors or omissions are quickly corrected! Some feel the sentence is confusing I took it to distinguish a difference but can see why it might create issues.
This quote "
For purposes of Law 11, the defender is considered to be on the goal line for calculating offside position. This player, however,"
In my opinion this is simply determining the difference between a player off the field under his own accord who is free to return and thus PART of the offside determination to a player now restricted because he HAS been granted permission to be off the field who is no longer part of the offside determination and must await permission of the referee to renter .

In the 5 scenarios the USSF was tying to address the possibilities that a referee or AR might observe in players in touch beyond the goal line. Many observers of the RVN goal felt the #5 scenario should have applied based on the fact that a referee has the discretionary power under law 5, the referee could give permission for a player to leave the field to be treated for an injury even as play continues unabated. This requires a reasonable time frame and understanding the set of circumstances and it sets in principle a FACT of play that player cannot return to the field of his own accord!.

TIME and the apparent SERIOUSNESS of the injury factor in any decision to render a player who at first deemed active is then granted a temporary non active status where upon being granted permission to leave the field he is UNABLE To return until granted permission by the referee.

What occurs is IF this permission is granted the player is no longer free to get up and renter. The player can not renter during active play from the goal line but only the touchline and then only with permission.

The AR must redeploy to the new 2nd last opponent once the player is NO longer part of the offside equation.

One issue is who tells the player he CANNOT renter?
Another is at what point is the determination made?

JIM BEWARE!
I was told this might not be such a good idea but
The below information, read only if you really want to it is rather involved and might even be confusing.

I had prepared this response at the initial incident it is rather involved meant for a colleague discussion but I placed it here hopefully to help those still not yet content with the decision or to at least create some thoughts on the incident.

RVN incident Holland versus Italy 2008 Euro

If he is not a substitute or a substituted player a player is always a player, on or off the field!

To LEGALLY be off the field a PLAYER requires the permission of the referee.

If he does not have permission of the referee to be off the field he is STILL a PLAYER who MUST by law return to the field ASAP as he is off illegally.

It is WELL recognized that players will at times be off the field of play through natural participation in play, on purpose, through momentum or accidentally
.
QUOTE Additional Instructions and Guidelines, p.64: If a player accidentally crosses one of the boundary lines of the field of play, he is not deemed to have committed an infringement. Going off the field of play may be considered to be part of a playing movement. End Quote

This Guidance was included to excuse these natural moments as non USB because although they are off without permission it was not their intent to subterfuge the laws but they remain as PLAYERS active in the game! They are held accountable for anything they do while off the field. This applies to defender or attacker.

Quote Additional Guidance, p.102: If a DEFENDING player steps behind his own goal line in order to place an opponent in an offside position, the referee shall allow play to continue and caution the defender for deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee?s permission when the ball is next out of play. End Quote

*** PLEASE note it never mentions stopping play for an offside! Why? Because there is NO offside if this player is one of the two last opponents then he is keeping the opposition ONSIDE!

I think by now most people can grasp the principle, even if they do not want to accept the reasoning why defenders cannot be granted non player status just because they go over the goal line or a touch line. Defenders would then deliberately choose to feign injury or remain out there to get a call and that cannot be allowed or encouraged, however, it can not be effectively managed without a consistent principle to rely on.

As a general principle, a player who leaves the field of play (for whatever reason), without the Referee?s permission, should be deemed to be on the field of play, when match-decisions of importance have to be calculated. The exceptions are what all the fuss is about!

Given the fact it is known that players will perform the ?I am so hurt skits? that any actor could be proud of, the hesitancy on the part of referees being able to accept the injury immediately UNLESS totally obvious (as in we see the bone sticking out after the break or the blood turn the white uniform red) is part of the conditions the players themselves have perpetuated on the game.

Referees have discretionary powers that are truly daunting given their effectiveness and ultimate decision making ability.

If a defender is off the field and an offside call was made, then our defender pops up from off the grass in behind the goal or from off the touchline and trots out. . The referee can declare the whistle inadvertent and drop the ball at where the ball was subject to the law 8 special circumstances of the goal area if he was of the opinion the defender was off the field by accident momentum or natural play and was MISSED by the AR when the flag went up as one of the two last opponents.

If a defender is off the field and a goal was scored and there was an offside flag raised then our defender pops up from off the grass in behind the goal or from off the touchline and trots out the referee can declare the goal valid, wave off the flag restart kick off with no caution as in the opinion of the referee the defender was off the field by accident, momentum or natural play and was MISSED by the AR when the flag went up as one of the two last opponents.

If a defender is off the field and an offside call was made, then our defender pops up from off the grass in behind the goal or from off the touchline and trots out. . The referee could award the goal if one was scored with an kickoff or if no goal but play was incorrectly stopped to award the nonexistent offside an indfk to the attackers at where the ball was subject to the law 8 special circumstances of the goal area after cautioning the defender for leaving the field without permission show the yellow card and if it was his second caution show a red card thus reducing his side by a man as he is sent off.

Or as in the case of the DUTCH/ITALY incident the AR recognizes the player while off the field remains part of play BECAUSE the referee has not YET found it possible to give permission for him out of the offside equation and CORRECTLY keeps the flag down and play continues...

Every action I just described is consistent with law and the spirit of the game based on the actions of a defender removed off the field but considered to be part of the playing conditions and offside is partly based on his positioning on the field as ONE of the last two opponents.

The locations of the last two opponents are CRUCIAL to the determination of the opposition?s offside positional circumstances.

No law covers ever eventuality in the space time continuum of what ifs?

The defending player was knocked down by his team mate as part of natural playing conditions and those who think this means he is not part of play are mistaken .The fact that this player is out in behind the goal line because he and his keeper collided is immaterial albeit unfortunate. If they collided anywhere else on the field it is possible the player still goes down and lies there as PLAY continues!
We all must see this often?
A player lies there a while, play continues and then finally gets up?
Are goals scored in this time frame invalid?

Given the professional referees are miked if play continues and if the AR and referee are aware the player out appears to need treatment or in fact is receiving treatment it could be communicated through the 4th official to BOTH teams that the referee is in fact granting permission for that player to REMAIN off the field to be treated but that now requires him to request permission to be allowed to renter.

The difficulty with Panucci given the short time frame and the fact the Dutch had continued ball possession is at what point and how does the referee staff make such a determination?

I think it can only occur immediately in that the injury is recognized as REALLY SERIOUS. Secondly if it is apparent the player remains there requiring treatment or even receiving it AFTER the Italians were to regain ball possession then declare him out with permission thus requiring him to request permission to be allowed to renter.

This is the most consistent and effective way to change over the offside criteria for the last two opponents now that our last opponent is no longer active in legal play. The AR must then seek out the new second last opponent ASAP as dynamic play could be ongoing and a large distance might have to be covered quickly to get to the new offside line.

In my opinion a referee has the power to recognize that a player IS in fact seriously injured and has left the field to stay out of every one's way and seek treatment. Since this player is ALREADY off the field the referee could grant the player permission to be off the field de facto as if the player had requested it himself thus requiring that player MUST now ask permission to come back in.

I believe the referee could do this without stopping play and thus the player is NO LONGER part of the active participation and no offside criteria is then applicable.

I am not sure of the mechanics as how a referee could make this known at the recreational level other than to yell it out for the teams to hear?

I also suggest that only after the injured player's team has regained control of the ball to initialize the attack would it be prudent to permission our downed in behind the goal defender out of the offside equation.

Once a player is granted permission to BE off the field they require permission to come back in. The fact is both defenders or attackers can receive an injury at any time.

Hence as an attacker if you take yourself out to be treated or in fact collapse outside the field boundaries into touch after accidentally being pushed or sliding out a referee could grant permission for you to remain to be treated and only allow you reentry when play will not be adversely changed from what is already ongoing.

An attacking player?s action to seek permission to leave is certainly no disadvantage to the opposition as they have one less player to contend with while defending. When a defender chooses to do it at a time where it affects the attack a referee is less inclined to be as gracious simply because it could adversely affect the attacking opportunity by dramatically changing the offside line which is why for the purposes of offside a defending player is held accountable at the point where he has exited the field.

Panucci had what my colleague GV refers to as a boo boo, play continued as his injury was not deemed serious and likely when he looked the field over if he had got back up to renter he knew he was many yards away from being able to stop or do anything constructive so a quiet lay down and hope they do not notice me but then he was right up after the goal.

If he wanted to sell the call as unfair he could stay down and get himself substituted then the Dutch, feeling bad could in the spirit of fair play just possibly not contest the kick off an allow an even up score.

Additional Guidance, p 102 It is not an offence in itself for a player who is in an offside position to step off the field of play to show the referee that he is not involved in active play. However, if the referee considers that he has left the field of play for tactical reasons and has gained an unfair advantage by reentering the field of play, the player shall be cautioned for unsporting behavior. The player needs to ask for the referee?s permission to reenter the field of play. If an attacking player remains stationary between the goal posts and inside the goal net as the ball enters the goal, a goal shall be awarded. However, if the attacking player distracts an opponent, the goal shall be disallowed, the player cautioned for unsporting behavior and play shall be restarted with a dropped ball in the position where the ball was located. * End Quote

The most mythical aspect of these *what if concepts *is a link between an attacker leaving the field of play in similar circumstances as this defender.

This is comparing apples and rusty nails more so than apples and oranges.

Some FIFA laws and their choice of words tend not to always translate into easy discernible legalese that lawyers like to quibble over.
I can point out to a PK back heel in law 14 for an indfk against that contradicts the ball must move forward to be in play within the same law. The point is while one can argue semantics, the spirit, intent and reasonableness of why things are done and the substance of the laws is generally very well done.

Many try to equate a link between offside attackers stepping out to appear as being not involved in active play as not part of play. This is an erroneous misconception, trying to not affect active play is not the same as not affecting play.

The offside attacker remains a RESTRICTED player who will be judged accordingly as to his direct affect on play. The first line in law 11 it is NOT an offense of itself to be in an offside position. The offside attacker seeking to get out of the way of playing the ball, not interfering with an opponent or trying not to gain an advantage is no where near a terrible thing for a defender who is trying to clear or gain the ball possession.

Whereas a 2nd last opponent who if he managed to remove himself from the equation would create huge issues for determining who then is the 2nd last opponent and just what attackers are no longer onside? Defenders love offside attackers as their very presence ensure opportunities to get the ball turned over just by being there.

If an attacker is knocked out side the goal line into the netted area of goal and holds his ankle moaning away but the ball suddenly finds itself there on the goal line so our attacker sweeps the ball into the goal by pulling it back over the goal line using his extended leg from beyond the goal line. Or a shot comes in hitting him as it crosses the goal line.
Is the goal valid?
Is our attacker offside?
We still need to know who last touched the ball to get it on the goal line?
Was the ball deflected there?
Was any opponent disadvantaged as in having to step around the fallen attacker?
Why is this important?
Because that attacker REMAINED a player through out this time even while off the field!
If say the keeper had collided with the attacker and fallen in behind the goal line as as well so when the shot or ball comes the keeper has to leap over the crawling attacker who is only trying to get out of the way as he was injured and rolled away further into the netted area that attacker is still a player and IF offside restricted he has interfered with an opponent albeit unintentionally.

In reading the additional instructions for the illegal actions of attackers off the field you will note the cautions recommended are for USB not leaving the field without permission. These ATTACKING players while outside the field of play are held accountable in the way they could or might eventually affect play so then are the DEFENDING Players out there with them if they do so.

Offside is a phase of play where once the touch of the ball occurs something must occur to reset a new phase. If Italy had regained ball possession and control thus a completely new phase of play, Panucci now his team is in attack mode could likely have been granted permission to leave the field if the injury was still keeping him on the floor then would require permission to renter. The AR if at the goal line using the KEEPER as the 2nd last defender once the determination the defender was being granted permission to be off the field now needs to sprint like crazy up the touchline and in all likely hood miss any offside close call up where the rest of the Italian team and the new 2nd last defender was. Plus what is to stop the downed player from simply getting up back into the play?

AR with flag up only to look back and see Panucci walking in at the 6 yard area? Who tells him he could not come back if he was granted permission to be off?
Are you aware it is a CAUTIONABLE offence for a player to play the ball when he is walking off the field of play after being granted permission to leave the field of play. Just as it is a cautionable offence to come into the field of play without permission of th refreree to play the ball?

The AR here is in a very tough spot .

If the Dutch were to reverse the attack and Panucci was no longer eligible to come on without the referee permission as the supposed injury was the reason he was granted permission to be off! Panucci is NOT able to come back on from the goal line, he must enter from the touch line and be waved in by the referee assuming everything checked out fine .

Additional Guidance P 70 ? An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted ? When the ball is in play, an injured player must re-enter the field of play from the touch line. ? When the ball is out of play, the injured player may re-enter from any of the boundary lines ? Irrespective of whether the ball is in play or not, only the referee is authorized to allow an injured player to re-enter the field of play ? The referee may give permission for an injured player to return to the field of play if an assistant referee or the fourth official verifies that the player is ready


This is likely too detailed to interest many but I hope if those that are uneducated on the laws of the game and the reasoning why these consistency issues are taught and practiced the way that they are was ALWAYS with careful consideration to the fair play standards and the reasonable determinations that allow referee discretion and opinion to make that ultimate call in the best interest of the game even if it seems at times it might not.

I leave this with two excellent quotes from one current good guy and an old departed but also good guy

Reiteoir speaks
People scream for Consistency across the board when a referee uses common sense People scream for common sense when we get consistency in Law Application
Mark Twain said it best. "It's not what I don't know that gets me in trouble? It's what I know for sure that just ain't so
cheers



Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

I have asked similar questions of Mr. Allen in hopes of not publishing anything here that is in conflict with his official site. His answer was use common sense and go ahead and answer. I expect he knows what we will say and it will not be in conflict with US Soccer policy.

What is said is if the referee determines the player off the park is seriously injured and is in need of treatment from that time forward he ceases to be part of the offside equation and must seek permission to return to the field. No sane referee will make this determination during an attack because a player off the field may be treated by as many doctors, physios, quacks or Mom's with tissues as required AND this treatment will not interfere with play continuing on the field.

Moreover, given the player being an Italian national player one should always be wary of him rolling around, holding something and screaming in agony. Evidence of this was manifest, again, in the Italy v. Spain match in Euro 2008 where play was stopped numerous times for seriously injured Italians who, without benefit of magic water returned to their feet almost instantly [well as soon as enough team mates got back in defense].

Regards,



Read other questions answered by Referee Chuck Fleischer

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Jim, were you able to follow all of that? Good, because I could not.

There is a simple explanation for the confusion you're finding in scenario #5: There are contradictory statements in the USSF's answer.

Quoting scenario #5: "The Italian defender is clearly injured and off the field of play The referee makes a decision that the defender is seriously injured and cannot return to play by himself. Once the referee has acknowledged the seriousness of the injury, the player may not participate in the play and must not be considered to be in active play (at this point, he would not be considered in determining offside position and should not be considered in the equation as either the first or second last opponent). For purposes of Law 11, the defender is considered to be on the goal line for calculating offside position. This player, however, may not return to play without the referee's permission. Remember, the referee is instructed in Law 5 to stop the game only for serious injury."


The confusion centers on the sentence that reads: "For purposes of Law 11, the defender is considered to be on the goal line for calculating offside position."

While that sentence correctly expresses the situation **in general** for determining offside, for purposes of THIS scenario #5 it conflicts with the immediately preceding sentence where the player is off the field **with permission.**

I posed a question to USSF a few minutes after the explanation was published and opined that the two sentences were in opposition and made no sense in the same scenario.

I received a private communication acknowledging that perhaps this sentence should not have been included in the answer. I'm guessing the contradiction was just missed in proofreading.

So, take out that sentence and the answer for scenario #5 suddenly makes sense.

Here is all you need to know:

1) If the defending player who has left the field through accident or as part of play can return to the field he/she is to do so as quickly as possible, and can return from **anywhere** at **anytime** without the referee's permission. And while physically off the field, for determining offside that player nonetheless is considered to be **on** the field at the spot where he/she departed .

2) If the defending player cannot return and receives treatment while off the field, that player is not considered to be on the field and part of play for determining offside. But now deemed off the field with the referee's permission, that player cannot return to play except with the referee's permission. The return can be over the touchline if the ball is in play or over the touchline or goal line if the ball is out of play.

3) A defender who is pushed/shoved/thrown off the field by an opponent in a manner clearly not part of play (e.g., intentionally thrown into a fence) and who because of this misconduct is temporarily stunned and cannot return to the field is **not** considered to have left the field through the normal course of play or to have left the field of his/her own accord. In this instance the defender is **not** considered be on the field for purposes of determining offside.

Hope that helps to clear the confusion.



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