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Question Number: 29632

Law 11 - Offside 8/26/2015

Patrick of Champlin, MN USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29629

As I read the advice, the explanation about arms not applying when determining position seems restricted to determining the position of the attackers and non-goalkeeper defenders.

If I apply the more general advice that only playable parts of the body are used to determine offside, then the GK's hand should indeed put him on the goal line. That with another defender off the field means no offside infringements can occur.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

FIFA's definition of offside position is clear that the arms of any player are not considered. The concept that these are not playable parts helps explain the definition as a teaching tool; it does not change the definition.

As a practical matter, however, the location of the keeper's arm is rarely a critical element of the decision. When in doubt, the flag stays down.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Patrick
This is what the Laws of the Game state and I quote
**nearer to his opponents goal line means that any part of a players head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition**
The assumption is made that the definition applies equally to all players including the goalkeeper.
USSF has stated the definition has been subject to various informal interpretations over the years. Im not aware of any formal definition other than what is in the Laws

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Patrick,
no, the arms are NOT included for positioning criteria, this was confirmed by the FIFA referee committee. I advanced the same theory so now you know!

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Offside Question?

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

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