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: 31856

Law 11 - Offside 10/2/2017

RE: Competitive Under 19

Dave Bermingham of Herndon, Virginia United States asks...

In one of my matches over the weekend my AR flagged for offside on a play where the OPP was chasing a ball that was clearly running through to the Goal Keeper. The GK gathered the ball as I waved down the AR's flag while the OPP was still 2-3 yards away. As the attackers start to back up and I'm thinking all's well that ends well, the next thing the GK did was put the ball down and back away as if to take an IDK. I start repeatedly yelling 'balls in play', but the attackers react quicker and within another few touches score.
The goal was a direct result of the AR's error and the defenders reacting to him and not me. I gathered the ball and had a conference with my AR to remind him that the interpretation of 'involved in play' was narrowed in the 2016-2017 revision and that chasing a through ball without playing it or impacting the defender's ability to play the ball was not an offense.
Two players doing the resulting kickoff complained that they hadn't heard me, but as forwards they would have been behind me, far from my location near the PA. I know I was pretty loud as the GK's head snapped up at me as soon as I started yelling, as did the nearby attackers.
My question is how I might have better managed play after waving down the AR?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
The old adage of play to the whistle applies.
There are countless examples of such circumstances where players see a flag and then decide that it is going to be called offside so they stop playing. The learning point is that play continues until the referee stops play with a whistle.
Here is such an example
Some Green defenders switch off thinking it is offside yet it is clearly played by Green to Blue so no offside is possible. Not much the referee can do other than wave the flag down, which he does and allows play to continue.
Maybe in your example perhaps a stronger shout to the Goalkeeper of NOT OFFSIDE at the moment he gathered the ball may have helped although that is not even necessary. I am not sure it would have made any difference as it depends on the alertness or otherwise of the GK.
I also think that when the goalkeeper has the ball with no whistle there is every chance even if there was offside with a flag raised that advantage can and may be played. So again GKs have to be switched on.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

This is the goalkeeper's error, not the AR's error. The waving down of an AR flag is a common occurrence that the goalkeeper and other defenders need to be aware of. The goalkeeper should not have set the ball down because there was no whistle.

In my opinion, your yelling that the balls in play was not needed because teams should know to play the whistle.

Just chalk this one up as a leaning experience for the goalkeeper.

I hope that you have a very successful season.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dave,
if we have any theme of consistency here at the asktheref answering site you will regularly see PLAY THE WHISTLE as the primary focus of many responses.
It may be a point of contention to say we are applying advantage here rather than saying there was no offside involvement so in theory Advantage Play on ! is not the worst thing that could be done. I have seen the occasional English referee signal an advantage rather than award the indfk kick the AR was thinking as appropriate.
But ONCE again the reminder goes out ALWAYS PLAY TO THE WHISTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dave,
I remember being taught as a young player many, many moons ago that you should always play to the whistle. I have continued to hear that adage repeatedly ever since and I also used to teach it to players I coached. So I would say that neither you nor the AR was at fault here and I don't think there's too much else you could have done in the circumstances. Hopefully the keeper involved will have learned from the experience.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31856
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.