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Question Number: 32049

Law 11 - Offside 11/24/2017

RE: Adult

DEMETRIS of limassol, cyprus asks...

Hello,I have one question considering the first goal between Lyon vs Apollon limassol for the Europa league.Was it Offside or not?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Demetris,
I have to say, having looked at replays of this goal, it does appear that the player who scored was coming back from an offside position and at the time of the last touch by a team mate, was still in an offside position. The ball then comes off the goalkeeper in a rather messy fashion (the keeper seems to be unsighted by another defender and loses track of the ball) so the question is whether the touch by the keeper was a deliberate play of the ball - and not a deliberate save, a rebound or a deflection.

If the officials considered it was a deliberate play, there would be no offside but if they considered it was a deliberate save, rebound or deflection then there would be an offside offence. For me, this was not a deliberate play by the keeper so with the benefit of all the replays, I would give offside here.

I see a few possibilities - either the officials missed the fact that the player was in an offside position at the relevant moment or they thought the keeper made a deliberate play on the ball or they thought a defender made a deliberate play on the ball. The officials do not have the benefit of multiple replays and depending on what they judged to have occurred, they could see this as an offside offence or not as the case may be.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Demitris
I suspect you are none too happy with this call.
The factors we have to consider are
1. Was the Lyon player in an offside position at the moment the ball was headed into the goal area and / or did he interfere with an opponent before playing the ball into the goal.
2. Did an Apollon defender deliberately play the ball
3. Was the actions of a goalkeeper a deliberate play or save.
We have the luxury of action replay, freeze frame etc. The AR does not so we have to put ourselves in his position on the touchline looking across the offside line.
Now my opinion on this is that the scorer was in an offside position at the moment of the header although at no time does he interfere with an opponent. Freeze frame confirms that and I believe he knows he is coming back from an offside position so he does not get involved until the ball comes to him. It is unclear however from the video if the Apollon defender played the ball. He certainly raises his foot towards it. Even a poor touch is considered a deliberate play. The goalkeeper certainly touches the ball and it is then a matter of opinion if it is a save or not.
The Laws state that a ‘save’ is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).
I certainly think it is very poor defending by the two Apollon players and certain posed enough doubt in any AR looking across at this that it was a save yet rather played by them.
So let me put it this way. There is enough there for it not to be given and maybe less there for it to be given. There are no onfield appeals for offside just looks of disbelief at poor defending. It is more about poor play than gaining an advantage by being in an offside position. The modern view is that if there are doubts the benefit is to be given to the attacking team.
One final point is that had the Video Assistant Referee VAR system been in operation it would pose problems for the review. The big call was to determine if the actions of the defender and goalkeeper were a deliberate play on the ball or a save. Such situation pose a problem in interpretation as Referee Grove can opine a save whereas another referee could opine that as the ball was not going into the goal or very close to it that it was not a save. No save but deliver are okay means the goal was good.

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