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Question Number: 29647

Law 11 - Offside 8/31/2015

RE: U14 CoEd Rec Under 15

Zak of Dayton, OH USA asks...

I have a question about a play that happened during my game last weekend. Here are the events that occurred:
Team B defenders are pressed forward setting up an offside trap. Team A midfield plays a long through-ball. Streaking forward on Team A has a fast break, racing to track down ball, 1-on-1 with the Team B keeper. Team Bs keeper comes up to attempt a clearance ball. At about the 10 to 12 yard line, the Keeper kicks the ball directly into Team As rushing, forward. The Team A forward sort of brings his leg and knee up to try to protect himself from the keepers kick. The forward also tucks his arm into his body/stomach area for protection and almost turns a little sideways, thus making himself as little as possible. And of course the Keepers clearance ball blasts the Forward, who is approximately 1 to 2 yards away, in the Forwards hand/forearm/elbow. And as result the ball is deflected/rebound directly into the goal. The ball definitely contacted the hand. The forward was very close to the Keeper as he kicked the clearance ball and the Forwards movement to get small and turn to protect his "softer" areas was in my opinion instinctual and not deliberate movement. So what do you all think I should have called?
Well I disallowed the goal and called the Forward for handling the ball. The Forward turned to me and stated, "I was just trying to protect myself." In summary, it was a very quick, bam-bam, play with really no chance for the Forward to do much different than he did. It just happened to result in the ball going into the goal. Did I take the easy way out and make the wrong call? Since there was, in my opinion, no deliberate attempt to handle the ball e.g. the ball was played into the hand that was tucked into the players body from a very close range and at a very fast pace/hard kick from point-blank-ish range. Again this was a Rec, U14 game with nothing riding on the outcome.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Zak,
I am slightly uncertain if this striker was onside , your use of the fast break and the fact you mentioned offside trap had pushed up all the defenders was merely pointing out why this striker was in clear and one on one with the keeper?

It is true the fact a ball rebounds ADVANTAGOUSLY off the hand or arms if it was not deliberate is just play on. so the goal could have stood if you hold that view! The issue of handles the ball deliberately is one that bugs me to no end!
So many videos of these types of fouls show them as foul when the player is not deliberately trying to handle the ball at all, it is NOT his intention to handle the ball, however, in the opinion of the referee these players are deliberately playing the ball because there hands are out away from body, raised in the air, or they apparently make no move to pull their arm away. My personal take unless I am certain 100% the player handles the ball I make no call, play continues. I might yell, 'Not intentional Play! if there is a need to!

Yet it is also true if a single offside player is chasing the ball and there could be a collision an offside call is quite feasible. Then we have the clearance is in fact a DELIBERATE SAVE by the keeper as opposed to a deliberate play and as such does NOT reset offside so if the striker was offside pursuing the ball he has gained an advantage.

I have awarded two goals that I saw rebound off an arm or hand! The attacker facing the wrong way ball goes in off elbow ,another a charging attacker, same as you describe, where his arms pumping beside him, natural running motion, ball was hammered directly at him from a few yards away no time but for the ball to go from foot to hand to goal in a split second!


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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The words you use to describe the event - 'no deliberate attempt,' 'instinctual' 'tucking arm in' 'for protection' - - reflect acts that are not the foul of deliberate handling of the ball, even if incidental contact leads to a goal. In your case, it sounds like it was not a foul.

My experience, however, is that many players learn how to control the ball immediately after the incidental contact. The key is to watch what they do next. For example, after tucking the arm 'in' does the elbow and arm then extend 'out' after the initial contact. If so, they are likely controlling the ball, and have committed a foul.

If that happened on your field, the decision could be correct. But, it takes courage to allow a goal when everyone saw the ball touch the attacker's hands. The referee would be wrong to disallow the goal simply to avoid the controversy.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Zak
I suspect the effort at protection was in a way a deliberate action to assist in the charge down of the ball. Raising the hands / arms for protection is done deliberately makes it handling for me. I also think that most referees will give the deliberate handling here

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

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