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Question Number: 32080

Law 11 - Offside 12/6/2017

RE: Adult

Andrew wilshire of Bristol, England asks...

If a defender slides off the pitch behind the goal when trying to make an interception
is he still active and acts as a defender in play
Therefore being involved in offside decision even though he's off the pitch

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
I suspect you are referencing the goal by CSKA Moscow in the CL game v Manchester United where Blind slid off the field of play in a challenge to play the ball which was then crossed in to the goal area and then subsequently played towards goal hitting a CSKA player in what looked liked an offside position.
Law 11 is quite clear here. The Man Utd player that slid off the field of play was correctly placed on the goal line in determining offside and the term active play while not part of the Law is only relevant to attackers and is set out in Laws under interfering with play or with opponents. In that case Romero the Utd goalkeeper became the 2nd last opponent and his position was the offside line. So the 100% correct decision was made to award the goal as they was NO possible offside call.
Indeed let us say that Blind the United defender was injured and he could not return having slid off the field. Law 11 tells us that a defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee's permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or UNTIL the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play.
So again in the Man Utd situation as CSKA was still attacking inside the penalty area with the ball the UNTIL part of the Law11 statement above of the defending team, United in this case, clearing the ball could not be met so the United defender would still have to be placed on the goal line for offside purposes. Had Blind been injured, unable to return and United got possession of the ball and cleared it upfield, Blind off the field would not then be considered in any subsequent offside calculation should play continue. On an injury many times play will stop so it does not arise.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew,
ever since the Holland Italy match where Van Nistelroy scored with a supposed hurt Italian defender laying on the ground behind the netted area after a collision with his keeper the LOTG were altered to reinforce the fact that if you exit the FOP without permission by stepping or falling outside the boundary lines you are declared to be on the goal line for the purposes of deciding offside. The reasoning was obvious:-defenders could then simply step outside to place opponents offside if this law was not in effect The POINT about injury was addressed as well. IF the team under attack REGAINS ball possession and clears it up field the injured player off the FOP would ONLY then be exempt from offside as the act of staying off the field was clearly not an attempt to draw an offside but a reflection of a possible injury if indeed there was one! Permission to renter though must be requested if the player is injured & treated

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andrew,
A defender who leaves the field of play as part of a normal playing movement is considered to be on the goal line or touch line as appropriate, for the purposes of offside (until the ball is cleared or play stops). Being involved in active play is only a consideration for attackers, it does not apply to defenders. So in the Man Utd vs CSKA Moscow game, in the game that ref McHugh references, Daley Blind was indeed keeping Alan Dzagoev onside.

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See Question: 32106

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Offside Question?

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

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