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Question Number: 31581

Law 11 - Offside 6/4/2017

RE: Competitive Under 14

Fred Plenn of Seaville, NJ USA asks...

If the goalie is out of the box and there is one defender between the goal and the player the ball is passed to, how is offside interpreted. Does it need to be 2 players from the opposing team between the goal and the offensive player in that situation?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fred,
The law only talks about opponents and states that a player is in an offside position if ''nearer to the opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.'' There is no requirement for the goalkeeper to be one of the opponents involved. Of course, given the way events normally unfold, the goalkeeper is more often than not, one of the opponents in the equation - but not necessarily.

So all that matters, in regard to the number of opponents, is how many there are and the law is interpreted the same way, regardless of which specific ones they are.

However please note that this is only one half of the determination, the other being the position relative to the ball. If a player is behind or level with the ball, even if there are no opponents closer to their own goal line, the player is not in an offside position.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Fred,
The Offside Law isn't worried about specific positions like goalkeeper. For this law, the goalkeeper is simply 1 of 11 players.

The law regarding offside position states 'nearer the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second last line of defence'.

Usually the keeper is the last line of defence and the sweeper is the second last line of defence, so offside is judged against the sweeper. In the situation you described, the defender between the goals is the last line of defence so the AR/referee needs to look at who the second last line of defence is - in this case it may be the keeper, or maybe there are more defenders between him and the defender guarding the goal. It can be a little tricky for referees sometimes.

Bear in mind that if 2 attackers are past the second last line of defence and one has the ball, then as long as the teammate is wholly level with or behind the ball then they're in an onside position.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fred
The goalkeeper is just one of 11 players under Law 11. He is typically counted when he is in his regular position on or close to the goal line as one of the two last opponents. Law 11 tells us that a player is in an offside position if any part of the head, body or feet of the attacker is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent in the opponents half.
So typically we take the goalkeeper as one opponent when in his goal position so we look for the second last opponent which is a defender However when the goalkeeper leaves his position and comes out ahead of his team mates that all changes. The goalkeeper may not even be in the calculation if he is far enough out so the AR will look for two opponents that are closest to the goal line. It could be that the goalkeeper is the 2nd last opponent with a team mate behind him or maybe not. ARs have to be vigilant of that.
Here is an example

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Offside Question?

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

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