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: 31824

Law 11 - Offside 9/25/2017

RE: Competitive Under 14

Kainen of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

I'm just here to ask, with Lacazette's recent disallowed goal against stoke, the Defender's shoulder is hanging over his foot. If the offside line was to be from the defender's shoulder Lacazette would be onside, but it was from his feet and Lacazette was offside. Should the line have been from the defender's shoulder? Considering that it has to be from a part of the body that can play the ball - in which the shoulder can play the ball, what should have been the correct call? Offside or not offside?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kainen
The offside line is determined by the part of the body closest to the goal line (of the 2nd last opponent) that can legally play the ball. The upper arm cannot play the ball legally so it is the part that can is the determining point.
From video evidence it is clear that Lacazettes foot is beyond any part of the defender that could play the ball which makes it offside. I doubt that any AR can get that tight a decision correct and he was somewhat fortuitous that it was shown by video to be offside.
Now in real time and from the AR view there would have a split second when there was the movement forward by the defender and movement by the forward towards goal. That is one of the most difficult of all offside calls to make for any AR without technology. It will have looked tight and the AR flagged based on what looked like clear offside for a fraction after the ball was played and as I said was proved correct albeit marginally so. It could very easily have been the wrong call by no call
Had it been given it as a goal it would have in equal measure been berated as the wrong decision.
Over many years I have seen plenty of such calls not given and the AR berated. ARs give what they see in real time which is not easy.
Try this test and see how difficult it is

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kainen,
I hadn't previously seen this incident so I had to look for it on YouTube. Interestingly enough, I found a clip where a former referee (albeit with a somewhat 'chequered past') Graham Poll gives what I would say is an accurate analysis of the decision. The clip can be found here:

One thing I would say is that when former Arsenal defender Martin Keown says there is a rule that the advantage must go to the forward if there is any doubt, that is not quite true. There is nothing in the Laws of the Game that says that. The way the law has been changed over the years has indeed led to a situation where more close offside calls will now go the forward's way than in the past but there is no actual part of the law that explicitly says what Keown mentions.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Kainen,,
The rule of thumb in the use of the phrase, 'When in doubt do not wave it about!' it that GENERALLY there is NO Offside offence unless you CAN BE CERTAIN . In truth that holds to ANY infraction, we do not QUESS, we either know thus we flag/whistle or we do not know thus we do not flag/whistle& play proceeds. I know the favour attacking play is a mantra chanted about to encourage more goals exciting soccer but it is always a poor idea to fault an official for getting it right!

Lets credit the AR looking in in the exact CORRECT position and realizes the foot of the attacker IS the closest point to the goal line and thus according to the LOTG he is 100% correct as THAT is his decision in that given moment. I thought that AR did an outstanding job in the match I saw no obvious flaws & his attention and focus were again in my opinion spot on!


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31824
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.