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Question Number: 21508

Law 11 - Offside 6/8/2009

RE: competitive Under 16

R Neal of Roseville, CO USA asks...

Everyone on the sidelines has a different interpretation of when a player is offsides, especially when it is called on their team or not called on the other team, what is the rule?

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

Our dear friend and late editor, now member of the AsktheRef HALL OF FAME, Chuck Fleischer, put together a great explanation of Law 11 -- Offside. You can read it by clicking on the link:

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Most of that is sour grapes and the fact as non neutral participants they have a stake in the outcome.
The offside law is reasonably simple, made complex because those who speak of it try to tinker with something unbroken! It reminds me of politics where various theories are put forth on what money is or can do.

We must always keep in mind that an opinion is an entitlement granted to any with the ability to think. An opinion is not an absolute truth no matter how deeply seated the belief one might have in its authenticity. It is a perceived look at the circumstances with a decision rendered to stop or not stop play!

As my colleague points out our former editor's Ref Fleischer's carefully crafted collection of valid points and considerations lay it out very well.

The difficulty of offside may lie in its interpretation as to what **INVOLVED** means. It appears to me even the pundits and announcers are now at least acknowledging the fundamental FIRST line of offside law

*******It is NOT an offence in itself to be in an offside position.*******

(((The law next describes HOW offside position is or is not possible. Perhaps if they had immediately stated that offside is TWO parts of a single equation? Position is part one!!)))

A player is in an offside position if:
? he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent
(((note the definition of **nearer**)))
In the context of Law 11 ? Offside, the following definitions apply:
? "nearer to his opponents' goal line" means that any part of a player's head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition

(((There are TWO factors here, **than both the ball and the
second last opponent** if one is missing ALWAYS consider the other)))

A player is not in an offside position if:
? he is in his own half of the field of play or
? he is level with the second last opponent or
? he is level with the last two opponents

(((While one can not be declared in an offside position it does not mean that the player was not previously in an offside position. People move, the ball moves AFTER position was established AFTER the ball is played /touched by the team -mate)))

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

(((Ah part 2 of the equation INVOLVEMENT. Confusion here is the **moment** can in fact occur long after POSITION was established. In other words a decision to STOP play may occur at a later date when INVOLVEMENT actually occurs.
Key here is ONCE a player has been deemed to be in an offside position WHEN his team -mate played /touched the ball NOTHING that now RESTRICTED player can do, ON HIS OWN, will change the non involvement status he resides under.)))

? interfering with play or
? interfering with an opponent or
? gaining an advantage by being in that position

(((These three concepts are described in the additional guidelines as to their meaning yet we still actively debate the meanings of *gesture*,*distract* and *deceive* with regards to interfering with an opponent. KEEP this in mind it is ONLY the actions of a restricted offside player that is considered for offside evaluation it is NOT the thoughts or actions of the defending opponents)))

In the context of Law 11 ? Offside, the following definitions apply:
? "interfering with play" means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate
? "interfering with an opponent" means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent
? "gaining an advantage by being in that position" means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position

(((There are three basic exemptions that initially DISCOUNT the players' positions when the ball is touched /played in by the team -mate. Offside possibilities are SUSPENDED until when AFTER the restart a NEW touch of the ball occurs by a player from either team to reengage the criterion. Be wary of that word *DIRECTLY* although not implicitly stated under offside evaluation it refers to a team-mate with ball getting that ball to another team -mate even if the opposition has a DEFLECTION or uncontrolled piece of the ball on its way to that team -mate)))

No Offence
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:
? a goal kick
? a throw-in
? a corner kick

(((The restart position of an indfk for an offside offence is also misleading as the initial positional evaluation was the START of the offence and the later involvement only completes the offence a reason to stop play but the restart returns to where the position first was determined)))

Infringements and Sanctions
In the event of an offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred (see Law 13 ? Position of Free Kick).

(((What the laws imply but do not clearly define is WHEN or how can an offside positionally restricted player (OPRP) be free to rejoin play? To reset the offside criterion requires
-Complete uncontested control and possession of the ball by the opposition. A rule: Being able to use the ball subsequent to contact equals possession; deflection is not possession.
-When a team -mate next touches /plays the ball the OPRP is no longer in an offside position
- the ball goes out of play for a new restart thus new touch evaluations or control issues will come into play.

Just to touch on one final subject I will pose you a question see if you can attune your now overfilled mind with offside jargon and collection of the myriad of facts before you to come up with an answer.

Explain how both teams could have OPRPs (offside positionally restricted players) at the SAME time. If you can do this successfully you will be farther along then the brumbies along the touchlines!)))

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Offside Question?

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

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