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Question Number: 32057

Law 11 - Offside 11/26/2017

RE: Under 13

Nigel of Camborne, Cornwall asks...

A ball gets played through the defence and two attacking players run towards the ball,one is in an offside position the other isn't.the attacker that isn't offside gets the the attacker in the offside position ,offside for running towards the ball as he is interfering with play running towards the ball or is that OK as long as he doesn't touch the ball? Also if the attacker in the offside position gets passed the ball by the player not in the offside position in his next pass when defenders are back can you flag for offside from the 1st move

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nigel
Running towards the ball from an offside position is not an offence on its own. It has to include doing something else such as interfering with an opponent while doing that or with play by touching the ball. So Offside only becomes an offence when the player in an offside position interferes with play by touching the ball or interferes with an opponent by challenging for the ball or other interference such as line of sight.
So in your example with two players running towards ball offside will only be called if and when the offside positioned player touches the ball first or interferes with an opponent.
Now each touch of the ball is a new phase of play so in the situation where an onside player gets to the ball first that touch will begin a new phase of play and if the previously positioned offside player is now onside at that touch there is no offside should the ball be passed to that team mate
Extreme example is say at an attacker is 20 yards in an offside position and the ball is played through for an onside player to run on to the ball. The onside player plays the ball and runs with the ball beyond his teammate and then passes it to that previously offside positioned player (who is now in an onside position) that is not offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

So remember law 11 has 2 components. 1.) Offside position and 2.) Interfering with play. It takes both to be flagged. It appears here that we do not have component 2 and flag should stay down. Alright, so if 2 players are running for a ball and the 'non offside positioned player' gets to ball first, then the 'offside positioned player' would not have gained any benefit. The only way you would then call offside would be if he interfered with an opponent by blocking the opponent physically. Him merely going for a ball will not suffice if the other player is going to get to it anyways This is why you want to wait a little before flagging a player for offside. Wait and see....who gets to it first...and how things develop;.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Nigel,
I'm afraid the first part of your question is based on a false premise. A player who runs towards the ball is not interfering with play, at least not according to the Laws of the Game, which define 'interfering with play' as: ''playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate''

Now, it is possible that a player running towards the ball might be interfering with an opponent - if they materially affect an opponent's ability to play the ball in any of the ways defined by the law. These are:

''preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
challenging an opponent for the ball or
clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.''

If the player running towards the ball does any of these things, they would be guilty of an offside offence - just not under the category of interfering with play.

As to the second part of your question, a player who was in an offside position during a previous period of play cannot be penalised for that if he subsequently gets passed the ball when in an onside position. This situation is described on page 201 of the 2017-18 Laws of the Game as follows:

''An attacker (C) is in an offside position, not interfering with an opponent, when a team-mate (A) passes the ball to player (B1) in an onside position who runs towards the opponents' goal and passes the ball (B2) to team-mate (C). Attacker (C) was in an onside position when the ball was passed, so cannot be penalised.''

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Nigel,
the official should WAIT and see when there are onside & offside players in pursuit of the ball to SEE what each does? If the onside player makes first contact with the ball it will reset the offside restrictions that WERE in place and recalculate a new set of criteria.

As long as the offside players do not get tangled up with defenders by blocking them or denying access to the ball prior to the onside player getting to the ball. That could qualify as involvement as interfering with an opponent but the ball is never contacted.

Of course if the offside player was first to reach the ball ahead of the onside player that is offside INDFK out for interfering with play as direct involvement with a physical touch of the ball

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