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Question Number: 32073

Law 11 - Offside 12/4/2017

RE: Rec Under 16

Mark of Reading, Berks UK asks...


During our match on Saturday one of our players was correctly flagged offside and the ref awarded an indirect free kick.

When the opposition took the kick, two of their players were in an offside position and both interfered with play, the lineman flagged but the ref ignored it. After a stop in play he came over and said that 'you can't be offside from and indirect free kick'.

Could you confirm whether he is correct or not?

Thanks Mark

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
Totally and absolutely incorrect.
The only times a player cannot be offside is from a goal kick, throw in and a corner kick, all restarts where the ball has left the field of play.
At all other times including a free kicks direct or otherwise offside applies.
Very poor Law error by a match official and this needs to be brought to the attention of the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mark,
the three exceptions for offside on a restart occur on throw ins, corner kicks and goal kicks. An INDFK is NOT exempt, the error here requires intervention by those who assess and train their referees to re-educate and remind these officials the LOTG need to be adhered too as well as remembered! This is important on an offside INDFK because NOW it has the potential to wind up as a scoring opportunity given involvement CAN occur inside your own half rendering shots on goal possible

Also to be guilty of interfering with play, playing the ball requires an actual physical touch where as interfering with an opponent can occur away from the ball. So while the officials are dead wrong in their altered version of reality on INDFKS being exempt your own interpretation of interfering with play sounds dubious? Always difficult to comment on the unseen but it is best to provide a good visual imagery in the details to help us determine the correct assumptions to but forth!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mark,
To start with the last part of your question - it is possible to be offside from an indirect free kick. It is not possible to be offside from a throw-in, corner or goal kick but it is possible from any kind of free kick. So if that is really why the referee did not make the offside call, he was mistaken.

However I'm a little unsure what you mean by 'both interfered with play.' In terms of offside, 'interfering with play' means touching the ball. So unless they both kicked the ball at the same time, I doubt that they both interfered with play.

The other main way to commit an offside offence is to interfere with an opponent but pretty much the same thing applies - usually only one player interferes with the opponent in any given offside scenario. I can't recall a situation where I would say that two players both committed an offside offence on the same play, so I'd be a little surprised if that actually happened.

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Offside Question?

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

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