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Question Number: 28722

Law 1- The Field 9/11/2014

RE: Rec Under 10

Jay LaFountain of Coldwater, MI USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28329

With regards to halves of the field, do not the lines make up part of each half of the field? And if so, do you not have to go completely over the line to be considered out of your own half, as the ball would have to be? And if so, wouldn't a player standing with any part of his body over the halfline be in his own half by definition, and therefore able to start the game there, even if his body was entirely in the opponent's half as well? Furthermore, how does this affect offsides calls... if a player's foot is in their own half but their head is beyond the second last defender, are they by definition not offside due to being in their own half? :D

These are the questions that plague me.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Logic supports your argument.

FIFA does not. If one toe is in the opposing half, then you are in the opposing half for purpose of offside position.

In the real world, however, the flag should stay down whenever in doubt about offside position.


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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

The EBOLA virus is a plague, this is when you attempt to ask the age old question how many angels can dance on the head of the pin expect a few different replies! I can only suggest to alleviate this minor plague the answer lies in PLAYABLE body parts and the word EVEN with regards to offside and the words DOUBTFUL and TRIFLING on the kick off or restarts.

From a static perspective we often see players riding the midline at the start of a match! The lean, at kick off is a simply not a big issue to fuss over. It becomes annoying when they step fully over and wait for a ball to be nudged ever so slightly forward and then kick it back to the midfield. Cause now you have to decide to intervene and make a point for players to be COMPLETELY on their own side of the midline at the taking of a kick off! Coming across as a bit pedantic or rigid or by the book or also as one of THooose refs! sigh no matter that we are completely correct in law to do so!!

Or we can pretend this was a figment of our imagination, no one really cares and we get on with it! I have a suggestion, go ask 6 random coaches, 6 fans, 6 players and 6 referees of varied experience: 'JUST what do they think if a referee starts a match without challenging the two strikers taking the kick off, where one steps over waiting for the kick?' I will ask you what do you think any of us on the panel would do based on the answers we have provided for you to date?

The easiest option when considering offside is remember the body parts about nearer the opponents goal at the last touch of the ball by the team mate and the word even when it comes to playable body parts in proximity to the midline , 2nd last opponents and or the ball.

At the time of the last touch of the ball by a blue team mate IF the blue player had both feet on his side of the midline heavily leaning forward so his head is clearly over the midline and clearly inside the opponents half. The 2nd last red opponent or the ball is CLEARLY on the midline or inside the blue half in a straight up position so no part of the ball or no playable body part of the red player was in fact nearer to the red goal line than that great big blue head and you were 100% certain this was so, an offside call is correct ! Ref I was in my own half!< could be screamed, to which you reply - not the part that was judged to be offside you have a HUGE head! !

Now if this was a play with players in motion and you were unsure, then no offside it was - even - works for the opposite call. Notice I never said if the player was on his side or not. ONLY if the players are static are you likely to be able to make such an accurate determination and only a few situations will arise when this could matter. When it does, simply be prepared to do what it is required, based on what it is you see, in the best possible way, for the good of the match. Something I learned from a realization or revelation of an experience by ESSE my mentor in a way during his world cup match between Brazil and Norway,a referee with integrity sees what he sees! Make the call you know, get on with the match! Rethink and analyze post game not during game!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jay
The Laws tell us that the lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries. In which case the half way line is part of both halves.
As a player cannot be offside in his own half then the player must have part of his body over the half way line to be in the opponents half.
In regular play and at speed this determination will be extremely difficult and it will not be inch perfect. So a toe over the white line on the green of the other half will be an offside position yet it will be a great spot by an AR. The foot not breaking past the plane of the line is not an offside position.

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