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Question Number: 22706

Law 11 - Offside 1/5/2010

RE: Competive Under 12

Michael of New Hyde Park, NY USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 22696

Referee Joe McHugh's response raises a question that I find comes up quite often - where should the restart for an offside offense occur. In his response, Ref McHugh states that that the ref 'awards an indirect free kick from where the ball was touched by the attacker's team mate.' Does he mean the team mate in the question that first accidentally was hit by the goal kick or the attacking player that subsequently scored the goal? Please clarify because I thought that the IDK was to be taken at the spot where the player committing the offside offense was at the time his team mate last touched the ball. Ref McHugh's response leads me to believe I was incorrect and the IDK should be taken at the spot the first player last touched the ball.

Thank you for all of your excellent responses.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Oops, you're right. The indirect free kick for an offside infraction is placed at the spot the offside player was when the ball was last touched by a teammate. Not where he received the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Good spot, it has been corrected and now reads as you suggest!

The restart location is supposed to be from the original position of when the offside player was determined to be restricted from further play when the offside criteria was initially applied not where the actual involvement occurs later that stops play! As it is not a scoring opportunity, simply a loss of ball possession a great deal of latitude is given where the indfk could be allowed to occur! Often the restart occurs yards away as a means of expediency and trifling in outcome, hence the confusion, the desire to keep play moving overrides the sound mechanics of a good AR and a supporting referee to emphasise the correct restart location, however, to spot the ball and kick it into play from the exact blade of grass is not usually a prerequisite

I see you are a parent and likely have children playing? You appear sharp, better get into the men in black side of things we could use you! ;o)

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Micheal
You are indeed correct and the IDFK is taken from where the offside player was when the ball was last touched by the teammate not from where he/she touches the ball. My apologies for answering this specific offside scenario in a way that required further clarification. In many offside situation including the one described the offside position of player and where the player touches the ball are generally the same or close together.
Where there is a difference of position due to the requirement to become involed in play through touching the ball it was clarified by IFAB, the body with responsibility for the Laws of the Game, in 2005 with the statement
"The restart of the game shall be with an indirect free kick taken from the initial place where the player was adjudged to be in an offside position."

This is now part of Law 11 with the words
'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'
I appreciate you seeking clarification of this with your question and the original answer has been amended to ensure no confusion.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

You are correct. The indirect free kick takes place where the player that is flagged for an offside offense was when the ball was last touched or played by his/her teammate not from where he becomes actively involved in play. Note that Law 11 states the IDFK takes place where the infringement occurred which means that offside occurs before there is actually active involvement.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

Think of it like this.

Offside is a two part equation.

1) Was the player in an offside position when the ball was last touched by a teammate? If yes, go to part 2.

2) Does the player become involved in active play?

If both conditions are met, then you call the offisde. But always spot the kick from the point where you make a determination in part 1.

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Offside Question?

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

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