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Question Number: 29612

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/17/2015

RE: Travel Under 17

dan of vienna, va usa asks...

Can an attacker get a YC for multiple or repititive offsides calls? Or can these offsides call accumulate to a player's poor-standing with a ref from other minor infractions...leading to a Persistent Infringements YC.

This was a referee test question, and I am curious about the answer. Thx.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dan,

In my 45 years of officiating I have never seen it!

But if we go by exact wordings of the LOTG

Persistent infringement
Referees should be alert at all times to players who persistently infringe the
Laws. In particular, they must be aware that, even if a player commits a number
of different offences, he must still be cautioned for persistently infringing the
There is no specific number of infringements which constitutes “persistence”
or the presence of a pattern – this is entirely a matter of judgement and must
be determined in the context of effective game management.

FOR ME, in my not so humble opinion effective game management is a big deal! While it is seems that offside is a technical infraction, it is a matter of law. So whether one considers it as a foul is really not relevant . It is not a lot different I guess than say he takes all his teams throw ins and free kicks and touched or kicked it twice, thus giving up possession by constantly infringing the laws of the game, but at what cost? And would the other team really give a rats butt? To caution for PI is of course a solution to a problem but is it in this case a problem??

Offside infractions are a gift of ball possession to the other team with no physical interaction of the opposing players so chances are the opposition are quite happy for an attacking player be so foolish as to be constantly offside.

It is his own team that likely wants his head on a platter. We might be inclined to intercede just to stop him from getting beat up? lol

Given I think it is an advantageous infraction for the opposing team it is doubtful I as referee would be inclined to stop it or feel bound to do something about it . Only if the actions were USB, as in constantly interfering with the keeper is there a likelihood of seeing the offside positioning/involvement as anything to be troubled by!

So it is remotely possible in theory, just infinitesimally not practical in application!

All the LOTG are there to be tabulated and ignorant behaviour resulting in the NEED to caution for PI, it is likely a caution for USB would occur sooner than a whole pile of offending actions of offside infractions and an assortment of fouls to link up as PI!

I know in the past the USSF held a position that it WAS not possible for PI to be linked to offside but I think it was back in early 2000s when they were finagling advantage and law 12 or 14 as applicable, but not other laws?? There is no real reason to apply PI to the other LOTG simply as a matter of historical tradition there was no reason to do so!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dan
It has become accepted practise that only infringements of Law 12 count towards the caution of persistent infringement. A player who constantly infringes Law 11 would never be cautioned for persistent infringement. The wording though allows for it and there are some infamous stories of referees threatening to caution for repeated offside no doubt due to the frustration of constant stops. In the extremely unlikely situation that a player was deliberately using extreme offside offences to frustrate the opponents then the referee could warn such offenders that repeated cynical offending will draw a caution. The regular offside though is just the IDFK and the opponents will gladly accept the free kick every single time.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


While technically possible per the wording of the Laws; it would not be wise to do so. It is commonly accepted that only fouls count towards PI, namely those infractions laid out in Law 12. Another way to look at it, why would you caution a team for deliberately disadvantaging themselves (by being offside)? There is no harm to the opponent and other than your arm getting tired from all the IFKs, it really just hurts the offending team. No need to add salt into the wounds.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

No! The punishment of giving up an IFK to the other team is enough here. It would not make much sense to go with a caution for persistent infringement.

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

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