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Question Number: 32122

Law 11 - Offside 12/21/2017

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


my questions are about defender's delibrate save.

LOTG explanation is:

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).

Are there any other definitions?

These situations are rarely intentional (except goalkeepers). It is mostly deflection or rebound. Simply instinctive matters.

Is not that confusing? (f.e. deliberate save vs. deliberate play). I think, that first is intentional rarely, second always.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
I have a simple view of this and I also take into account the level of game being officiated.
For me at the lower levels of the game any action that is not seen as an intentional deliberate play of the ball is a save, deflection, rebound and not a reset.
In a recent game a player tried to stop a ball at half way, failed to do so and the ball went to an opponent in a clear offside position. I immediately called offside and there was no debate about it. On reflection I considered whether the action by the defender was a deliberate play and to be honest it could have been technically yet the defender tried to stop the ball not play it. Had I allowed play to continue it would have caused mayhem.
I have watched some of the videos of resets in Pro game videos and some just do not sit well with me as resets in lower levels of the game where skill levels are much lower.
I also believe that gaining an advantage by being in an offside position is about not rewarding the PIOP for a player trying to stop a ball and fails where the ball skids of the top of a players head because he is not athletic enough to reach the ball.
On a save the same applies. A player tries to stop the ball going towards goal and unless he is seen to make a deliberate play rather than a save it is not a reset. I believe there is sufficient implicit knowledge to discern by the action of a player trying to save a shot and a player who deliberately plays the ball away. I also believe that most times the save will be made by the goalkeeper where the ball will rebound back which will not be a reset.
I fully accept that where a player plays the ball and makes a rickets of it playing the ball to a PIOP his team should no be rewarded by calling offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I would agree with you that a deliberate save is more often seen from a goalkeeper than an outfield player but I think the IFAB were just covering all the bases here since you will occasionally get an intervention by a defender that could be seen as falling into the category of a deliberate save.

We've had a couple of questions recently on the question of deliberate play vs deflection in relation to offside and as I said in a previous reply, the Laws of the Game do not give a lot of guidance so this an area where the individual referee has quite a degree of leeway in deciding.

Ref McHugh has given some good pointers as to how a referee could interpret these kinds of situations and I agree with his viewpoints. However, there could easily be other referees who would see things slightly differently, given the vagueness of the law in this area.

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

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