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Question Number: 31309

Law 11 - Offside 3/2/2017

RE: Competive Under 16

Iain of Las vegas, NV USA asks...

Attacker passed ball to team mate in an offside position, AR raises flag and CR waves AR off since goalkeeper intercepts the ball, picks it up with clear possession and rolls it to a team mate but is intercepted by attacker who scores. CR awards a goal, is this the crrect decision?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Iain
As described this is not offside and the goal is good. The player in an offside has to do more than being in an offside position and it does not read that the PIOP did anything in which case the flag should not have been raised. Couple that with the fact that the goalkeeper gains control of the ball then even if there was offside the referee can still play advantage and allow play to continue by waving down the flag. That begins a new phase of play
The GK then made an error by giving the ball to a team mate in a way that was intercepted. That is simply a playing error by the defending team and any possible offside has well passed here and does not compensate for mistakes of a poor pass that is intercepted.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Iain,

Allowing play to continue after the keeper has take possession of the ball in this scenario is correct. Once the defender has played the ball (in this case, the keeper handling the ball), a new phase of play begins. So, forget about what happened up until this point - moving forwards, the keeper has simply made a bad pass that an attacker intercepted.
As an attacker needs to interfere with play after the ball has been played by a teammate to be guilty of an offside position, he cannot be penalised when intercepting a pass from an opponent.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Iain,
offside advantage is a bit tricky in the AR is thinking to avoid a collision in as much as there was a challenge for ball possession particularly when the OPP is coming in fast or from the blind side. The CR can certainly choose to override the AR decision and wave off flag but bear in mind in the opinion of the AR the OPP WAS involved!, otherwise there was no reason to flag.
Once the CR though has determined the keeper has ball possession and is deliberately playing that ball out as a non save, it becomes a free ball for any opponent no matter what position they hold on the field. I have seen OPPs lurking quietly in behind the keeper who is unaware they are there . To place that ball on the round or roll it ahead thinking to dribble it a bit or kick it up the field for the OPP to suddenly dart in steal it for an easy goal. So yes the OPP who intercepts AFTER the keeper has had control and released said ball is entitled, because the keeper lifted the previous non involvement restriction.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Iain,
As Ref Dawson alludes to, the referee has to take into account the actions of the AR here. If the AR is doing their job properly, they should have considered all the relevant provisions of the offside law and come to the conclusion that the OP was involved in active play, before raising the flag.

Unfortunately though, I have noticed a number of AR's even at the highest level, who flag for an offside offence when none has occurred. There was an example in a UCL game recently when a long ball was hit towards a player in an offside position. The AR flagged for offside as the ball sailed yards over the player's head and straight out of play. The player never attempted to play the ball and was not close enough to any opponent to have interfered with them. There was no reason for the AR to flag for offside but he did so and the referee awarded the free kick.

This sounds very possibly like a similar occurrence and if so, the referee has acted correctly in not penalising the attacker for an offside offence and allowing the subsequent goal to count.

It would be nice to think that you could be sure that an AR will always flag correctly for offside but experience tells us that this is not necessarily the case and so sometimes the referee has to overrule.

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Offside Question?

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

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