Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 31381

Law 11 - Offside 3/23/2017

RE: Youth Competitive Under 19

Nikhil M of Kansas City, Kansas USA asks...

Changes to Law 11 - Offside

An IDFK for an offside offense is taken where the offending player was at the moment the ball leaves his/her teammate's foot/body. That being said, if a long through ball is sent to an attacker who is in a offside position near the half line, the flag is raised at that point near the half line, not 30-40 yards down the field when the attacker touches the ball or becomes involved in play. Therefore, how can an IDFK for an offside offense be placed in the other half of the field, when the attacker comes over and back to make an infringement?

Thanks for your help!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nikhil
Not so. Offside position is JUDGED at the moment the ball is played / touched by a team mate. The offside offence OCCURS after the ball is played by the PIOP or the PIOP interferes with an opponent. There is NO OFFENCE until the player in an offside position interferes with play by touching the ball or interferes with an opponent by challenging an opponent or impacts on an opponents ability to play the ball.
If an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick where the offence occurred, including if it is in the players own half of the field of play.
So in you example the offside flag should NOT be raised on a long through ball 30/40 yards downfield away from the offside positioned player. It is not an offence for an offside positioned player to move after the ball or run elsewhere perhaps for another phase of play. So the AR should hold off from raising the offside flag until there is certainty that there is going to be offside offence such as a touch of the ball by the PIOP or there is the strong possibility of a challenge / collision on an opponent. An AR can flag *early* if there is certainty that no other onside player can play the ball. On a long ball played through that is way too early to judge offside as the ball can go back to the GK or out for a throw in, goal kick in which case there is no offside offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Nikhil,
your opening statement is incorrect, the offside criteria becomes active at that moment when the position is determined but it is the LATER involvement that dictates the restart LOCATION. To THAT end it is certainly possible to be awarded an INDFK against you inside your own half if as an OPP (offside positioned player) you returned while restricted and involved yourself in active play either by touching the ball or interfering with an opponent upon returning past the mid-line.
A KEY concept in offside ! ONCE an OPP is restricted by the positional touch of the team mate NOTHING that OPP can do on his own will rescind his non involvement restriction!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Nikhil,
One of the changes to the offside law this year is precisely that the IDFK is not taken where the player was at the last touch by a team mate but where they become involved in active play, even if this is in the player's own half.

In the FAQ on the IFAB website this is explained as follows:

''Q3: The Law now says that the IDFK for offside can be taken in the player's own half but how can this be correct?
It is correct because:

a player CAN NOT be in an offside POSITION in their own half
a player CAN commit an offside OFFENCE in their own half if they go back into their own half from an offside position

With the exception of offences in the goal area, throughout the Laws every free kick is awarded from the place where the offence occurs so it is logical that this should also apply to offside.''

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31381
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.