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Question Number: 25557

Law 11 - Offside 10/5/2011

RE: Pro Professional

Sean of Seattle, WA USA asks...

Late in the final of the US Open cup yesterday a Chicago player in the 6 yard box got a shot off toward goal that was saved and controlled by the Seattle keeper. The AR raised his flag for offside and play was stopped for the IFK from the goal area. The keeper went a bit apoplectic since he wanted the ball in hand to take to the top of the penalty area and punt. Did he have any legitimate complaint? Can the referee give advantage when a ball played by an offside attacker is immediately controlled by the defending team?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

According to USSF, advantage can only be applied to violations of Law 12. Offside is one of the infractions that cannot have advantage applied. The referee should consider whether any infraction is trifling.



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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sean
The reason advantage was not played was that USSF's advice to referees is that advantage can only be played on infringements of Law 12. The CR had no choice.
Now as a European referee, I personally believe that USSF's advice on this is dated and Law 5 states that the referee can allow play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time. The Laws make no mention of limiting it to Law 12.
As you describe is a perfect example where the ball is safely in the GK's hands and he want to get play moving quickly with a punt or throw and the referee does not allow him to do so? Has the offside offence any bearing now on play? Only if the ball has to be placed on the ground inside the penalty area and the ball kicked outside it for it to be put into play when advantage cannot be played. That gives the team that offended a delay to regroup and set about defending.
Yes the AR has to raise the flag as the player in an offside position touched the ball yet the whole basis behind advantage is this very reason. The referee elsewhere in the world can wave the flag down and allow play to continue. It has happened to me on many occasions and I see no reason why that should not be the case in the US.



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Answer provided by Referee Gil weber

Sean, in fact in the US there is no reason why the referee cannot wave down the flag and allow play to continue. The referee here as everywhere else has great latitude to determine that a breach of the Laws (whether it's a foul or a technical violation such as offside) is trivial.

In this instance by waving down the flag the referee is NOT applying advantage which, as has been pointed out, in the US is applied to Law 12. Rather, this is a case of applying that part of the law which is no longer in print but still should be part of smart refereeing -- that whistling and stopping the game for trivial matters spoils the game for everyone concerned.




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Offside Question?

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





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