Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 28671

Law 11 - Offside 8/19/2014

RE: Professional Adult

Mike Spivy of Vancouver, Washington USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28668

Thanks for the great feedback. I do want to clarify one thing though as it relates to the offside law. In this instance Fernandez (#10 green) was in an offside position, but when Urruti (#37 green) received the ball the offside is 'reset' and as long as Fernandez is behind/level with the ball he's no longer considered offside (as long as he stays level/behind the ball)? In other words, my understanding that Fernandez was in an offside position when Urruti received the ball means he continues to be offside is just plain wrong....the play reset at the moment Urruti received the ball.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
It is not an offence to be in an offside position. As long as Fernandez does nothing to interfere with play or with an opponent he cannot be called offside. If he wishes to participate in the next phase of play which will be initiated by Urruti he has to be in an onside position which is either behind or level with the ball or have two opponents between himself and the goal line. So let's say Fernandez had been seen to be clearly behind the ball here there would not have been any possibility of offside being called here. The flag only went up because the assistant referee thought he was ahead of the ball at the last pass from Urruti.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy

Hello Mike,
You aced it! The key here is: 'when the pass is made'. The original 'pass' to Urruti was not O/S. Case closed. Now let's deal with the next pass. Clearly the A/R judged that play to be O/S. You called it 'reset', and that's pretty good.
The A/R makes his or her judgement on the O/S when the ball is played and watches to see if those attackers, who were O/S at that moment become active in the play. Once the ball is controlled by another player, we are done with it and make judgements on subsequent plays.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gene Nagy

View Referee Gene Nagy profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi again Mike,
Fernandez was offside positioned when the through ball was first struck! This renders him a restricted player. He was restricted from actively participating in play right up until the moment Urruti made his first, and from what I saw, his only contact with the ball, sending the square ball over to Fernandez.
This touch of the ball by Urruti RESET the offside restriction Fernandez was under and a brand NEW determination was made, one that unfortunately the AR choose to see as still restricted. In essence Fernandez was never in a position to play the ball according to his initial position on the first through ball and the 2nd determination by the AR also had him restricted on Urruti pass.

The primary understanding of offside requires the realization that it is comprised of two separate elements!

{1}POSITION which is NOT an offence but does RESTRICT the player from further involvement in active play!.

{2}INVOLVEMENT in active play by a restricted player creates an infringement

Why is this hard to comprehend?

Waves of confusion are created by the continual MOVEMENT of the players, both defending and attacking, at speeds of 20 miles an hour, running in opposing directions, chasing a bouncing ball, moving at possibly twice that speed, if not more! Position is a FREEZE frame picture of ALL the participants, calculated at a single moment of time when a ball is LAST touched by a team mate.

ONCE a player is Frozen as being in an offside position he is restricted no matter what he does and where he goes because NOTHING an offside restricted player 'ORP' can do on his own will change anything

There are only three stages of play that could allow a restricted offside player to rejoin active play.

One - a NEW teammate's touch of the ball
(1) Condition one requires the former restricted offside player to no longer be in an offside position when this new touch occurs. Offside reset occurs at ANY teammate touch of the ball deliberate or accidental creating a NEW phase of play with a freeze frame snap shot of the new positioning of the players on the field

Two - opposing player plays/controls the ball
(2) Condition two must simply occur, offside position is not part of the equation because condition one no longer applies the former restricted offside player can legally contest ball possession if his opponents now have actually touched the ball with uncontested control/possession which frees a previously restricted offside positioned attacker to rejoin active play no matter his position on the field

BUT---: yup there is a but, a WAVE if you like, in our sea of tranquility
If the opponent/defender touch of the ball is deemed in the opinion of the officials to be a deflection/rebound this WILL NOT RESET nor change an attacking opponents restricted offside status!

Three - the ball goes out of play
(3) Condition three requires a restart of play!
Three restarts are free from any offside criteria by either team (Throw-in,corner kick, goal kick) where position is NOT a factor at the moment of the kick
A NEW positional offside evaluation will occur ONLY from the team taking the kick be it indk or direct as there is a new touch of ball by the attacking team/or team mates. The opponents are exempt because condition two now applies

I know its a lot to digest my friend but keep asking away you will become an expert offside analyst lol

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 28671
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.