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Question Number: 31121

Law 11 - Offside 12/20/2016

RE: Amateur Adult

Fred of Biloxi, Mississippi USA asks...

Some colleagues and I have been arguing about Law 11. Here is the scenario: Player A1, in an onside position, has a hard ground pass directed to him by a teammate. A1 simply misses the ball and it remains rolling on the ground, with pace, to Team Bs defender B1. B1 applies a successful dummy maneuver, allowing the ball to roll between his legs, to misdirect any other attackers. A2 is positioned between B1 and the Team B goalie. He is clearly offside. Due to B1s dummy maneuver, the ball rolls directly into the path of A2 who turns to goal and scores. Should the goal stand or should A2 have been considered offside? The confusion comes from Player B1 applying the dummy maneuver. Even though he has not touched the ball, can the clear and obvious dummy maneuver be considered "Deliberately Playing the Ball"?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I think some of your colleagues are thinking about this backwards. The offsided-ness of A2 is determined at the time A1 plays/touches the ball.

The only time B1's actions come into it is if the ball rebounds/deflects off her or she makes a save - in which case that touch keeps A2 offside. By extension, other touches by B1 would reset offside.

Interfering with an opponent (which is where your question is leading) applies to the attackers, not the defenders. There is no mechanism for B1 to 'interfere' and thus render A2 onside, short of actually playing the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Fred,
No because the player who last touched the ball is STILL an offensive player and the restriction of non involvement applies.

Think on shot to the comer of goal and an offside player opens his legs to allow the ball into goal fully aware that IF he touched it he would be guilty of offside. EVEN if he tried to kick it and MISSED that goal would count as long as his actions had not interfered with an opponent's ability to get to that ball.

Now IF we claim that the goal is GOOD, DESPITE the OPP trying to get involved and fails, can we argue no less that a defender who does NOT Touch the ball has in fact NOT reset the opposition's offside status? Until the opposition defense actually make physical contact with the ball their opponents' are still bound by any previous offside restriction in place. A dummy by the defense is not a deliberate play by virtue of an attempt to play the ball is not an offside if there is no contact.

I recall an offside player started a run but broke off when the ball wound up inside the opposition PA just outside the goal area and it was self evident the keeper was going to get there well ahead. EXCEPT the ball rolled to a stop in a small puddle and the keeper went over and just stood beside it. Everyone expected him to dribble it or pick it up but the keeper was cagey and knew that the nearest attacker who had backed out towards the mid line was OPP. So he just stood beside the ball BUT never touched it! The OPP who tired of waiting began to run in thinking he could NOW be involved as the keeper's proximity and time waiting surely was playing the ball. That attacker was wrong in not grasping that NOTHING an offside player can do by himself will reset his restriction once in place. The opposition must physically touch the ball, a team mate must retouch the ball when he is not offside positioned OR the ball goes out of play. INDFK out UNLESS the keeper picked the ball up well before we were worried about a collision.

Cheers & Merry Christmas

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

To play the ball deliberately, the defender would have to touch the ball. If he does not touch the ball, then he cannot be considered to have played the ball. If A2 was in an offside position at the last touch of the ball by a teammate, then A2 would be off.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fred
Deliberately playing the ball means just that. The dummy by B1 is not a reset as the player has not deliberately played the ball. One could also argue that B1 if he is sure of the positioning of the attackers has allowed the ball to go through to the PIOPs which makes it offside when the ball is touched by A2.
Anyway it is a pretty rare offence that a defender would dummy the ball to allow it to get to an opponent.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fred,
My referee colleagues have already given accurate answers but let me further mention that playing the ball definitely means touching it. Just in case of any doubt about that, the term is defined in the Glossary section of the Laws of the Game document as follows:

''Action by a player which makes contact with the ball''

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

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