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Question Number: 22844

Law 11 - Offside 2/19/2010

RE: Competitive Adult

Julian of Cambridge, Ontario Canada asks...

I was running the line during a feisty game. There was a mad scramble for the ball in the box. An attacking player had ended up in the net. During the scramble he came out and proceeded to head the ball at the goal hitting the cross bar. The ball rebounded to one of his team mates and he scored. It all happened within a few seconds. I had been in line with the last defender and raised my flag for the original offside (player in net) just as the ball went into the goal. The referee failed to look over at me and signaled goal. As I was stood with my flag in the raised position he came over to me looking rather disgusted and asked why I was signaling. He told me that I should have ran up the touch line to signal for the goal. I told him that I couldn't do that because of the offside infraction. He again came to me at the end of the game and told me I was wrong. Was I incorrect? Unfortunately the ref that day had to have an airy stadium.

Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

Well - from what you say, you would be just about the ONLY person on in the stadium who could tell with certainty whether the attacker who headed the ball was in an offside position. If the attacker was offside, you did what was appropriate.

If the referee disagreed with your decision, he could have come over, conferred with you and overruled your decision. It is his call in the end.

Next time ask him if he would have preferred it if you took the flag down after you signaled offside... I am sure he would tell you he wants you to keep the flag up.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

You should keep the flag up until the referee acknowledges it. If he waves you down - which it sounds like he didn't do - now it's his problem to deal with. You indicated that the player who headed the ball was in an offside position, which is likely unless two defenders were exactly on the goal line at the time. But you didn't specifically say that it was a teammate who passed the ball to him when he headed it. That would be a determining factor in deciding that offside should be called.

I wonder just a bit about your comment, 'I told him that I couldn't do that because of the offside infraction.' It would be more politic if you had said, 'I didn't do that because of the offside infraction.'

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I'd love to hear the referee's justification as to why you were wrong - your decision was correct, and the way you handled it was also completely correct. As the AR it's your job to let the referee know of any infraction he's missed - thus if it occurred before a goal was scored, you must ensure the referee knows about it before the kickoff. Good work on your part, also on picking up on the attacker in the goal net.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Julian
There is not enough detail here to decide if the attacking player was offside. He certainly was in an offside position at a time but as you know that is not enough on its own. Now the determining factor was whether the ball was played by a team mate or a defender or the position of the player when it was last played by a team mate.
I assume that the ball was last played by an attacker and that the 'in the net' player came from an offside position to play the ball. Your flag in that scenario is correct and as you flagged for the offside infraction you were correct to keep the flag up until the referee acknowledged it. These matter should be discussed in the pre match. All referees expect the AR to flag for offside at all times and to hold the flag until seen or if unseen to only lower it when the defence has gained clear possession of the ball or it has gone out out of play for a TI or GK to the defence. Unless the referee saw something that you did not see then he should have thanked you for the good spot, awarded the IDFK and that was the end of it. If he really felt that you were wrong he should have overruled your flag and awarded the goal.
After the match it is not acceptable to tell anyone that they were wrong. It's a team effort and the decision should have been discussed and debateable points cleared up. The referee should have prompted a discussion with a simple question of "What happened in the disallowed goal" where the other AR can give his view as well. That was the proper place to discuss this and learning points agreed for everyone including the referee.

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Offside Question?

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

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