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Question Number: 31533

Law 11 - Offside 5/15/2017

RE: Vets Football Adult

John Vane of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire Uk asks...

If the attacker plays a through ball to his mate who is in an Offside position , but then the Defender tries to intercept, but unfortunately slices it through to the lad, is he then offside, or not ???
I recall a few seasons back, that it meant he was effectively played onside , but then it was rescinded !!!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
the LOTG on offside were not rescinded but they were altered and reworded in the past 3 years to imply a slightly different concept where if the defender made a deliberate attempt to play the ball and failed to control said ball as a MISTAKE then the offside restriction for the opposition was lifted. However if the referee saw the attempt was a instinctive reaction the mistake is looked at as deflection or rebound which does NOT reset the opposition offside restriction. There is another consideration in that a DELIBERATE save whereby the defender, usually but not just limited to the keeper, prevents a shot on goal even though it was a deliberate play that it is looked at as an automatic deflection or rebound and NO offside rest occurs .
This is where gaining an advantage portion of offside occurs.

(1)When a ball is looked at as rebound, deflection or deliberate save the offside restriction is NOT lifted
(2)When a player deliberately tries to play the ball but makes a mistake where the ball is redirected to an opponent the offside restriction IS lifted
(3) The distinction between a deliberate play mistake and the others is based on a lot of criteria where the referee uses their judgement if they apply.
(a) Location was it a deliberate save? Would the ball have entered the goal? If yes then offside restriction remains
(2) Time & ball pace, was there sufficient time to be able to react and set up or was it just an instinctive reaction/flail?
(3) Space & line of sight was there room to react? Was there awareness of the ball flight and did the pace or direction of the ball change unexpectedly?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
Over the years Offside Law 11 has had many changes to interpretation. It is the most amended law.
In general if the ball is deliberately played by a player to an opponent in an offside position that was not offside for a very long time. However if the ball was deflected then that did not reset offside and offside is called once the conditions are fully met. What has happened over the last number of years is that attempts have bern made to bring greater clarity in the interpretation to the difference between a deliberate play and what is a deflection. Sometimes there can be a fine line yet as described a sliced kick is a deliberate play not a deflection so it is a reset of offside.
Here is an example of a reset. It is not a deflection or a rebound and the AR correctly keeps the flag down

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
I'm not sure what you would classify as 'a few seasons back' but being played onside by any touch on the ball by an opponent was removed from the Laws in 1978. Prior to this, the law said a player in an offside position was not penalised if: ''The ball last touched an opponent or was last played by him.''

However in 1978 this was changed following an earlier proposal by the Welsh FA, which stated:

''For a player to be placed 'on-side' when the ball accidentally touches an opponent is contrary to the spirit of the Law. The Referee should have sole discretion as to whether or not a player intentionally plays the ball.''

So ever since then, it has only been when an opponent deliberately plays the ball that the attacker is not offside. It is true that the specific wording making this absolutely and unequivocally clear was only put into the Laws on 2013 but the requirement for it to be a deliberate touch has been applied, as mentioned, for almost 40 years now.

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Offside Question?

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

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