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Question Number: 25068

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 6/6/2011

RE: local Under 17

francis of montreal, quebec canada asks...

i was an assistant referee for the first time last game and the other assit. ref was not there so i did my part and the ref was very nice. though i rose my flag for an offside because it was a direct free kick and one of the the attacking players moved past the wall and the second to last opponent before the ball was kicked. though strait off the kick the ball went in. the kick that was in the offside position ran towards the keeper but never touched the ball, the ref never saw the offside because he was on the otherside behind the play and simply allowed my offside call. the game ended 4-3 the goal i called offside could have tied it. did i make the right call?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Welcome to becoming an assistant referee.

Let's set the stage. A free kick is awarded to the attacking team near the goal. A member of the attacking team was in offside position at the time of the free kick. The player in offside position (PIOP) never touched the ball, and the ball went directly into the goal from the free kick.

Law 11 tells us that it is not an infringement to be in an offside position. In this situation, the flag must stay down until the PIOP does one of three things: (a) play the ball; (b) interfere with a defender; or (c) play the ball after a deflection or rebound. Moving toward the ball is not enough.

Since the PIOP never touched the ball, the only way he would have infringed the offside law was to interfere with a defender, such as the keeper. The two questions to ask are: did the PIOP do something that interfered with the keeper's ability to (1) see the ball; or (2) to play the ball? Frankly, the referee's angle is usually better to make this judgment. The assistant referee's angle is better to judge offside position. Each of you has half the information needed to make a sound decision.

In the US, there is a special mechanic for the assistant referee to indicate that there was a player in offside position when a goal was scored by someone else. The assistant referee does NOT raise the flag, however. Instead, she stands at attention. This indicates: I have information for you that means this is not a good goal. When the referee comes over to discuss the matter, you can inform the referee that player number X was in offside position and may have affected the keeper's ability to see or play the ball. X did not touch the ball. (A wise referee already knows that X did not touch the ball or you would have raised your flag.) The referee can then use this information to decide and her own observations of the relative location of X, the goalkeeper, and location of shot to decide whether to allow the goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Francis
The question the AR has to ask in this type of situation is whether the player in an offside position interfered with an opponent in this case the goalkeeper by preventing an him from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the goalkeeper's line of vision. If the answer to that is no then there is no offside.
Moving towards the ball in an offside position is not an offence

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Francis, you must remember that it is NOT an offense to be in an offside position. Did the player in an offside position interfere with play? No as he never touched the ball. Did he gain an advantage by being in an offside position? No, again, he never touched the ball. Did he interfere with an opponent? This would be your only reason to raise the flag. Did he interfere with the keeper's line of sight or the keeper or any other opponent's ability to play the ball? If the answers are no to these questions, there is no offside.

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