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Question Number: 32018

Law 11 - Offside 11/13/2017

RE: State 4A semi finals High School

Peter Szwec of Brookeville, MD USA asks...

Hi, so our team lost 1-0. The question I have is about an offside call that negated a goal. Here is what happened. Striker A shoots form the 10 o'clock position as the goalie comes out and partially blocks it. The ball rolls in past the goalie on it's own power. Striker B runs in from the 2 o'clock position and kicks it hard into the back of the net AFTER the ball already crossed the line. He was marked as off sides. They didn't count the goal. What is your take on it?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
Thanks for the question.
The answer lies in whether the ball crossed the line before the player that was adjudged to have been in an offside position touched the ball or interfered with an opponent. If the ball had in fact crossed the line then a goal could have been awarded provided the movement of the player in an offside position did not interfere with an opponents ability to play the ball.
Now what I will say is that in dynamic play hairline goals can be difficult to judge. Was the ball fully over all the line before it was played? Did the player help the ball over the line?
I would have to take the advice of the AR that the ball had not fully crossed the line before the PIOP touched the ball. He is positioned to view such incidents.
Have a look at this video
Had the goalkeeper got a hand on this ball by a save the outcome would not change. Was the ball over the line before the header by the player in an offside position. The AR thought otherwise and flagged for offside.
Now on a 1-0 loss it is always difficult to take after a disallowed goal. N.Ireland lost 1-0 over two legs to miss out on going to the WC on a handling penalty decision, which many felt was harsh. Italy also lost out in going to the WC and in the final play off game there were five good appeals (two to Sweden and three to Italy) for penalty kicks none of which were given. Referee crews give what they see and we agree/ disagree with those calls. When I look back at games where teams were unhappy with a call they always forget that the game was not decided on one call. They forget their good play that resulted in misses, poor play and defending and generally not imposing themselves on the game. Unfortunately we cannot roll the clock back and there are life experiences in here for young people on winning and losing.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
if there was an offside positioned player was in pursuit and the ball HAD completely crossed the goal line under the cross bar & between the posts BEFORE he actually physically touched the ball it is impossible to be offside for interfering in play as PLAY was over as a goal was scored. HIs attempt to touch made NO difference to the outcome!

The fact he is swinging his leg at the same time as the ball is in processing of entering the goal the AR or CR will have difficult time determining if the ball is in fact COMPLETELY over before he makes contact. If he assists he will be offside, if he waits until the ball is INSIDE the netted area well over the line and simply bashes it into the netting then the goal should be allowed. It will depend on the view of the officials.

I should note it does not matter if the ball makes physical contact by accident or on purpose, offside is awarded in either case!

Now what is POSSIBLE is IF this player was offside positioned at the time of the shot and as he pursued the ball he blocked an opponent or the keeper from being able to get to the ball while chasing it THEN offside for interfering with an opponent IS plausible. There would be no goal permitted.

Again circumstances and the view of the AR or CR will determine if this was so! In the video example my colleague showed
I hold the opinion that should have been a goal the ball was clearly inside the netted are by a decent margin before it was contacted. Nani was offside but he never affected the goal until AFTER it completely entered the goal! That said what I think does not matter I only know that Ronaldo was denied a goal by an incorrect flag the VAR and the new ball chip technology would fix that mistake yet in the trench's of recreational without the reviews video we make that snap judgment be it right or wrong, it is what the AR/CR say it is ! Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
If the ball was truly 100% over the line before the Striker B touched it, he could not be guilty of an offside offence by interfering with play or gaining an advantage (since both require touching the ball while it is still in play) but he might still have committed an offside offence by interfering with an opponent, if his actions affected an opponent's ability to play the ball. It is not possible to tell from your description whether this was the case.

If the ball was not completely over the line before Striker B touched it, any touch no matter how slight, would be an offside offence - assuming the player was in an offside position when Striker A took the initial shot.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

I refereed high school ball in Maryland in the 70's and the 90's and am very familiar with the playoff situation there. I see that your high school, Sherwood, had an outstanding season before losing 1-0 in the semi-finals.

I wish that you had a video of the play so that we could judge more accurately as to what really took place.

Normally, a player who receives the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball is not offside. However, there is an exception if the play was a deliberate save which is the case here, so offside is possible.

There then are three reasons in high school rules why the offside could have been called, and they are: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or seeking to gain an advantage by being in an offside position. (NFHS Rule 11-1-4). Did the player who was called offside interfere with the goalkeeper, interfere with play, or seek to gain an advantage by being in an offside position?

To interfere with the goalkeeper or another player, the attacker would have had to prevent an opponent from playing the ball or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the player's line of vision or movement of challenging an opponent for the ball. (NFHS 18-1-u). Did this happen? Could this have been the reason for the offside call?

To interfere with play, the attacker must have played or touched the ball after the goalkeeper had partially blocked it during the save attempt (NFHS Rule 18-1-v). This could have happened if the player actually had played and/or had touched the ball before it went the goal line.

Seeking to gain an advantage is simply playing a ball that rebounds from a deliberate save (NFHS Rule 18-1-0). Once again, did the attacker play the ball before it went over the goal line?

It appears that the referee had two choices for the offside call. They are: 1. The attacker interfered with a defender who was attempting to play the ball; or 2. The attacker played the ball before it crossed the goal line. Did either of these occur? Since this was a very important semi-final game, I expect that the referee gave the reason for the call to your coach. is there any way that you can find out the referee's explanation?

I am sorry that your team did not get to go to the championship game. I hope that your son's season was also successful. Perhaps, next year, Sherwood will get to the championship game. I hope so.

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