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Question Number: 20203

Law 11 - Offside 10/9/2008

RE: High School

John Cardoza of Madrid, USA asks...

Can a player in offside position
re- establish his 'onside' status by retreating into his defensive half to play a ball that was passed by a teammate?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
It is a rule that NOTHING an offside restricted player (ORSP) does on HIS OWN can reset the offside. This includes returning into his own half or running up field to place more opponents in between him and the opposing goal line.
It is not where he goes or where he is but where he was, that we look at WHEN he becomes involved.
To re-establish a NON restricted position one of three things MUST occur
(1) The ball goes out of play
(2)The opposition regains clear control and possesion of the ball
(3) Team mate touches the ball ORSP is no longer offside positioned

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

As Ref Dawson notes, a player in an offside position cannot put himself back onside. It takes the action of another player, whether a teammate or an opponent.

If a defender moves back down field, such that the defender is now the second to last defender and he is closer to the goal line than the OSP player and the ball, and at that moment in time a ball is served that the attacker can get to, he is no longer in an offside position. What changed was the position of the defender in relation to the attacker.

If a teammate moves down the field with the ball and passes the attacker who was in the OSP, the offside line has moved with the ball, and so the OSP player is now in an onside position. Notice again, it is not what the OSP player did, it is the movement and playing action of someone else that resets his position.

Naturally, all of this can happen in the blink of an eye (maybe two blinks) which is why AR's have to maintain focus, and keep taking a series of what we call 'snapshots' of player positions each time there is a touch on the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

John, this something that as a referee you have to know cold. Advice To Referees has an excellent chapter on Law 11 that will help with your understanding of offside.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 20203
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

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Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

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