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Question Number: 30614

Law 11 - Offside 7/17/2016

RE: High School Adult

Mike Kirkman of Kennewick, Washington USA asks...

A defender near the goal line kicks the ball and injures his knee during the kick. The injured player falls such that he is off the field of play over the goal line and stays on the ground. Is the injured player still considered the second to last defender (now considered to be on the goal line), or since he is injured, is no longer considered a defender?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

A player temporarily off the field is still considered to be a player on the edge of the field, until the referee explicitly gives the player permission to leave the field to treat his injury. So the player is still counted for purposes of offside as being on the goal line. He isn't the second-last opponent though; more likely he's the first-last opponent. Another player, perhaps the goalkeeper, would be the second-last opponent. The AR has to be sharp!

The reason for this is that it would be highly unfair for a player, even if injured, to be able to suddenly change the 'offsidedness' of an attacker simply by going behind the line. In the same line, the referee should not change the 'offsidedness' by suddenly declaring the player injured and off the field. The ref should wait for play to turn around, or if necessary stop play because of the seriousness of the injury.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
The player is placed on the goal line for the purposes of offside and that has not changed yet for NFHS games.
He may be one of two players calculated in the offside decision and in most cases he will not the 2nd last but probably the last opponent.
Have a look at this video
Blue defender stays down behind the goal and he is the last opponent with the goalkeeper the 2nd last. There is no offside here as Orange attacker was not in an offside position, despite what the announcer said in commentary.
In the case of FIFA there has been a recent change. The following phrase has been added to Law 11 * until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area, the player shall be considered to be positioned on the goal line for the purposes of offside. * That means that in the case of an injured player off the field of play once the ball is cleared away by the defending team the player does not have to be counted in offside.
Even with this change the example shown would still be a goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

If this is a high school game and an injured player is on the ground, not getting up, the referee should immediately stop play as safety of participants, not the position of the ball, is of the highest priority in high school games. Thus, the offside position would not be a factor. Also, please note that in high school, as indicated in 3.3.3 Situation J on page 18 of the NFHS Rules Book, an injured player may leave the field to avoid disrupting play. Since the player departed from the field, he/she would no longer be considered a player, and also, would not be a factor in an offside situation. I hope that you will have an outstanding high school season.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hi Mike
please note that under the NFHS USA high school perception of offside has a variation from FIFA if the determination is the player was to hobble off the field injured he would not be held accountable as an offside factor given safety is the higher protocol. That said if this injury was unnoticed by the officials prior to any attack and he was outside the FOP he could be misdiagnosed as being part of play.
From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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