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Question Number: 31407

Law 5 - The Referee 3/29/2017

RE: Adult

Rohan Ramgarib of Barrackpore, Trinidad & Tobago asks...

A Referee made a Wrong decision and called off side when a Player scored a goal. it is clearly seen on the reply that the player was on side. can the off side be revoked by the officials even if the game is completed or does the referee decision is final.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rohan
The referees decision is final. Once play restarts or is ended a referee cannot go back to change a decision nor can anyone else.
An error of judgement is just part of the game. Sometimes it benefits a team, sometimes it does not.
Now it should not be confused with a misapplication of the Law which is a different matter. So let us say that an IDFK to the defending team was awarded on a penalty kick infringement when the restart should have been a retake then that is protestable and more than likely that a replay or part replay will be ordered. That is not an error judgement yet an error in law.
You might recall the infamous Thierry Henry deliberate handling in the 2009 WC qualifier between France and Ireland. While it was shown that Henry clearly handled the ball before the goal nothing could be done about it after the game resumed with a kick off and the goal awarded as the match official did not see the offence. Even the player admitted to the handling after the game yet that could not change the result of the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rohan,
while it is true a video can show an incorrect decision at a LATER time as a FACT of play where a referee makes a decision during a match his being incorrect does NOT reset or change that decision. In these cases the referee has ONLY up until the restart of play to change the decision. Many an officiating crew has beat themselves up in hindsight in the post game reviews.
There is some talk of high level matches having a video referee review who if the determination is CRYSTAL clear maybe able to advise the CR BEFORE play restarts, to change a decision. Time will tell. Still a referee with integrity sees what he sees. Even if mistaken As my colleague points out we DO NOT change decisions based on a faulty opinion of did it occur only if it CAN NOT occur under the LOTG.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Rohan,
The referee is only able to change his decision before the next restart of play. So, in this instance, once the free kick occurs the referee can no longer change his decision.

It would be unreasonable to, after the match, go back and award a goal during the match - because it is impossible to consider the impact upon the match. I've seen plenty of teams lift and make a rapid recovery after a goal and score their own within a minute or two. While it is frustrating to see an incorrect decision occur, changing the facts of the match after the match is even more unfair as it prevents the teams from having the opportunity to respond to match events.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Rohan,
The offside decision that you mention cannot be changed if the game had been completed.

The Laws of the Game tell us a refereeing decision can only be changed if:

''play has not restarted or the referee has signalled the end of the first or second half (including extra time) and left the field of play or terminated the match.''

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Offside Question?

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

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