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Question Number: 31702

Law 11 - Offside 8/13/2017

RE: Under 12

Jonny Gray of Gibraltar, Gibraltar asks...

Every pundit was saying that Watfords 3rd goal against Liverpool on 12/8/17 was offside but infact the pass was played backwards until hitting a liverpool player. Can you please clarify this decision?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jonny,

it was a close decision. I can not fault the AR, when there is any doubt we are instructed not to raise the flag. The corner kick is offside exempt so no issues when the 2nd last defender plays the ball with his head into number 11 and at that time #3 Britos is even with the 2nd last defender so no offside on the first touch.

a good freeze frame at 50.55 indicates that when the shot occurs by number 11 the #3 Britos is declared EVEN with the ball by the AR thus he is not PIOP & is free to replay the rebound save . If we get a micrometre and measure the distance from the balls outer edge to the goal line and the near foot of#3 Britos to the goal line it DOES appear his playable body part is a smidge closer. Still in reality it was doubtful or even and in my opinion the goal being allowed given we are to promote attacking soccer is a credible decision . It took a freeze frame for me to determine there was a hint of offside and IF they go to the TV AR it could at some point bring back such a goal.
I will also point out that the #3 player did not affect the keeper being able to stop the initial shot because he was behind the keeper if he was in front of the keeper the AR may have seen it as offside easier blocking his line of sight. That is just a guess mind you! The fact it was deliberate save by the keeper if the CR/AR was SURE #3 was PIOP that save DOES NOT RESET OFFSIDE!
Still Liverpool defended poorly and did not avail themselves of many good chances to score 4 or more goals they have in my opinion nothing to complain about !
Cheers PS YouTube videos often get pulled for copyright violations sorry

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jonny
The question the AR had to decide was whether #3 Britos was ahead of the ball or not. If he was ahead of the ball then it should have been offside. If level then play on. Now at speed and in a game situation I would say it would extremely difficult to make that call and if in doubt then no offside should be flagged.
I have looked at it a number of times and it looks like the Watford player may have been ever so slightly ahead of the ball in which case it was offside. That is with the benefit of video and even at that it is questionable

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jonny,

Thanks for your question.

Ball direction is completely irrelevant to offside. It doesn't matter if the ball goes forwards, sideways or backwards - if the player who becomes actively involved in play is in an offside position when the ball is last touched by a teammate, then that's offside. I've seen plenty of scenarios where there has been an attacker in an offside position and the ball carrier has passed the ball backwards into space requiring the teammate to run back past him and the defence to collect the ball - but because he was in an offside position when last touched by a teammate, an offside infringement has been committed.

The difficulty is in judging offside - there were a matter of inches in this, and sometimes it's almost impossible to spot in real time.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jonny,
I must admit that when I first saw this incident replayed, I thought it was offside too. However, after watching several replays and looking at the freeze frames, it looks pretty much too close to call. I agree with refs Dawson and McHugh that the player may have been fractionally offside but it's so close that it would be almost impossible to be sure in real time.

As ref Wright correctly points out, the direction of the ball is wholly irrelevant.

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Offside Question?

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

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