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Question Number: 32036

Law 11 - Offside 11/19/2017

RE: N/A Adult

Hans of Alpharetta , GA USA asks...

2 attacking players are onside when pass is made out to the left attacker who then passes to the center attacker, with only the keeper to beat, who scores. Does the ball have to follow a specific path on the pass, i.e., level or back to attacker in the center, who scores? The pass in question was moving forward before goal was scored and not called offsides.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Hans
The key to this decision is the position of the center attacker at the moment of the pass by his team mate
If the scorer has only the goalkeeper between him and the goal line then the only way that he can be in an onside position is to be level or behind the ball. If he is ahead of the ball on the cross with only one player that is the goalkeeper between him and the goal line then he is in an offside position and it should be called offside when he touches the ball.
Have a look at this video
The goal scorer was behind the ball when it was passed by his team mate so it could not be offside. It might look offside given where the scorer touches the ball. Yet he was behind the ball at the pass so no offside is possible. If the scorer was ahead of the ball at the moment of the pass it would be called offside no matter where he touches the ball. .

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Hans,
At the ball was last touched by a teammate, was the centre attacker:-
- Past the 2nd last line of defence (usually the keeper is the 'last line'),
- in front of the ball (any part of his body except the arms)?

If the answer to both of those is 'yes', then offside has occurred. If 'No' answers either question, then the centre attacker wasn't in an offside position.

You'll notice I didn't comment on the direction of the ball. Neither do the laws. I've seen instances where the ball was passed backwards but an attacker who was in an offside position when it was kicked ran back to retrieve the ball thus a free kick was awarded.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Hans,
The direction that the ball travels has no bearing on whether an offside offence has occurred. All that matters is the position of the player who eventually receives the ball (or interferes with an opponent) when their team mate touched the ball. It is only if the player was closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent, that they can be potentially guilty of an offside offence. So no, the ball does not have to follow a specific path.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Hans,
we have a decent explanation of offside on the site on the homepage I suggest you give it a read .

One way to grasp offside position is to THINK of a FREEZE FRAME snapshot of the entire field where for that split micro second all movement ceases. You then note where all the attackers are in relation to the opposition defenders, the ball and the opposition goal line.

It is unimportant to concern yourself with BALL direction as we look to see PLAYER positions at the moment of LAST contact with the ball by the team mate playing touching or releasing it.

An onside player can run into what looks like an offside position and be legal to play the ball just as easily as an offside restricted player can runback into an onside looking position but still be guilty of offside involvement.

In your scenario, it is unimportant that there were two onside strikers only the one ACTUALLY involved in receiving that pass, the outside left attacker is required to be onside initially! Once he gains possession his every touch is a NEW freeze frame of positional circumstances that directly relate to the position of the other centre attacker. Given there is NO 2nd last opponent it is mandatory for the centre attacker to be behind the ball, thus further away from the opposing goal line when his left sided team mate LAST touches the ball over. Whether he ran forward to get to it or reversed to go back and get it means nothing if he was onside. Where was he at the EXACT microsecond of the ball's last touching/pass from his left sided teammate? Behind the ball onside, ahead of the ball offside!

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Offside Question?

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

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