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Question Number: 31270

Law 11 - Offside 2/16/2017

RE: Adult

Shaji of Shuwaikh, Kuwait Kuwait asks...

Hello Sir,
A player kicking the ball from Central circle to goal post. At that time the teammate of the kicker at offside position. The defender tried from penalty box, to head the ball and it moving to backward. Meanwhile the offside player tried for the ball. Can there be an offside offence?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Shaji
It is not an offence to be in an offside position. So if the defender was to head the ball unchallenged by the player in an offside position there is no offence. Indeed if the defender deliberately heads the ball to the player who is an offside position there is again no offence.
It would only be an offence if the player in an offside position interferes with an opponent. Interfering with an opponent is advised as one of the following
# preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by
clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
# challenging an opponent for the ball or
# clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action
impacts on an opponent or
# making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an
opponent to play the ball.
If the player in an offside does not do any of the 4 actions listed here nor if he plays the ball there is no offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Shaji ,

It will depend on where the OPP is and what effect, IF ANY, he impacts the defender who heads the ball?

If they both challenged to head the aerial ball then likely offside is the correct call.

If the defender was free and clear and the OPP was in behind to take advantage of the misplay, there is likely no offside as the deliberate play by the defender will reset the restriction.

The only other aspect is if the referee were to consider the ball striking the defender's head as a deflection or rebound in that the defender could not have time or was aware of its trajectory to be able to deliberately play the ball. In THAT case the OPP WOULD be guilty of gaining an advantage and declared offside!


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Shaji,
Yes, there can be an offside offence in the scenario you give but as my colleagues have mentioned, it would require the offside-positioned player (OPP) to be involved in active play as per the definitions given in the Laws of the Game. About the only way I can see this happening based on the description you give, is if the OPP has interfered with the opponent in one of the ways listed in the wording from the Laws of the Game that was spelled out by ref McHugh in his post.

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Offside Question?

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

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