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: 31706

Law 11 - Offside 8/14/2017

RE: All Other

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

With the change in the Laws about offside, how is the AR supposed to identify the spot of the offense if it happens in the team's own half?

With the recent change, does this mean that we cannot stop play when it is obvious that an offside attacker will get to the ball first? We have to wait for the touch in order for interfering with play occurs?

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
If the CR stops for the offside raised flag, noting the flag was not raised until the ball was PLAYED thus the PIOP involved was inside his own half that is where the restart occurs. The AR could make a back and forth wave of his free had and simply say offside, he was involved in his half and point! The CR knew where the ball was when he blew the whistle & likely aware of the offside possibility!

If there was time involved where the CR did not recognize the raised flag depending on what occurs, who keeps possession he either keeps the flag up until acknowledged or drops it once the defending team gathers it within their possession

I think it better to wait for an actual touch UNLESS there is a chance of interference of an opponent via a collision.
I recently saw an early flag popped for an offside attacker who was in pursuit of a ball headed to the touchline, the attacker tripped and fell in his haste clipped his own ankle, the ball continued was just crossing the touchline but was stopped by a helpful fan because the AR held the flag up for offside even after the player fell incorrectly thinking well he was trying to play the ball! TRY makes no difference.

In recent match's the PIOP took a wild leg swing and missed the bouncing ball as it went in for goal while another lunged to tip it in at the left corner all alone in behind the keeper was the last opponent on a shot from the right but the ball bobbled over his leg to score. Both were good goals despite the try from the PIOP because their actions made no difference to the outcome of play!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Derek,
Unfortunately, the position part of your question is not covered in the Laws of the Game - I think it would have been an excellent idea to have included instructions for this in the 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials' section.

In England at least, the FA, EFL, Premier League and PGMOL have issued a joint communique about this that reads (in part) as follows:

''The AR should raise the flag to indicate the offside offence. It is not required to retain the flag across the field of play to indicate 'Far', 'Middle' or 'Near' as this may lead to confusion.

ARs should not cross the half-way line when signalling or communicating an offside offence.

It may helpful for the AR to use their left hand in a 'right to left' gesture/arc signal to help communicate that the player has moved back from an offside position.

Referees should take control of positioning of the restart as they would on any other FK situation in their half of the field of play.''

The provision for flagging when it is clear that no other attacker in an onside position can play the ball is still in effect and should still be used where applicable. However it would probably not apply in the situation where a player is coming back into their own half to play the ball.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
The main priority for the AR is to identify that there was an offside in the first place and leave it to the referee to indicate the location of the restart in the opponents half. The AR does not cross the half way line
The AR should also wait until the PIOP interferes with play by touching the ball or interferes with an opponent before raising the flag. The flag can be raised early if there is no possibility of any onside player touching the ball and there is also a risk of a collision.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31706
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

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.