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: 31390

Law 11 - Offside 3/26/2017

RE: REC Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Interesting situation in a recent QC qualifying match between Australia (Socceroos) v Iran.

The Soccerroos were awarded a DFK centre field and approx 3 to 4m outside the penalty arc. As Iran set a wall at the required distance, an Australian player stood in an offside position at least 2m directly behind the wall, and in what clearly seemed to be a 'line of sight' position in from of the keeper. Roughly standing on the penalty spot, with the keeper maybe a stander metre or so off the goal line.

Clearly this was a deliberate tactic, as the attacker checked is position in relation to the keeper a number of times and adjusted accordingly.

First up I was both intrigued and disgusted.

Intrigued as I wondered what the outcome would be if the Aussie shot on goal was accurate, and, how the match officials would call it.
Disgusted as (maybe it is professional ignorance, however) us Aussies are not known for blatant cheating or bending of the rules.

What happened next is what prompted me to write in and describe the event.

The Referee - once finished with, setting the wall and tending to all the usual 'ceremony' mechanics - spotted the offside positioned player, and gestured to him, after which the attacker prompt move to an onside position.

So the question is - are we meant to do this.

Totally get we should intervene at various attacking restarts if we see any holding, blocking etc etc, and warn player that their actions are under scrutiny, however, are we to tell a player to change their position if they are simply employing a positional tactic (that may or may not have an effect on the out come).

Advising players to stop the argy bargy at a corner is advising them both that they are undertaking un lawful act. Would that be the same basis for this referee to advise the attacker to move?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
We know from the Laws that it is not an offence to be in an offside position. What has happened here is a bit of gamesmanship by the PIOP who was trying to unsettle the goalkeeper and his view of the ball and position of players. There is nothing to prevent that happening in the Laws and it is a matter of as they say *Not Cricket* meaning that while it is not against the law it is perhaps not fair play.
As regards the referees actions I suspect he simply informed the player that standing in that position on a shot would be line of sight interference and therefore offside. The referee has no power to move the PIOP yet I suspect he told him that he will call it offside on a shot.
Have a look at this video
The referee crew allowed the goal to stand. Clearly the player could not follow up on a rebound from a save as that would certainly be offside. I am sure the referee community would be divided on offside or not here. On a poll on this offside situation 61% said it was offside. My own view is that it has only one intention which is to impede the line of sight of the goalkeeper and while the antics before the kick might be ignored as gamesmanship standing in the same position at the kick would be interfering with an opponent which is offside.

If you thought the incident you saw was poor have a look at this one. Note the player ensures he is onside before the kick is taken.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

This sounds like a tactic that was in the news back in February 2016. It came to the fore when Manchester Utd used it in a game against Shrewsbury Town, although United claimed to have copied it from Danish side Midtjylland.

The PGMOL contacted the IFAB for clarification and after receiving it, the Premier League issued the following statement:

'The Premier League has this week written to its clubs to provide guidance regarding the offside law,' said a statement. 'The guidance is in relation to players standing in an offside position when a free-kick is taken.

PGMOL consulted the International Football Association Board (IFAB) as to whether there was an offside offence or not. As a result the PGMOL guidance below clarifies the situation.

'For the avoidance of doubt, similar scenarios in the future will be expected to be given as offside.'

It should be noted that the advice from the IFAB did not mention warning or talking to the players employing this tactic, it simply said that if they remained there until the free kick was struck, they should be given offside.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31390
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 31395

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.