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Question Number: 32195

Law 11 - Offside 1/25/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

Offside question. As proof of my interest in getting it right, I even DREAM of reffing, LOL!

This morning, I woke from a dream where a player in an offside position in the penalty area slips and falls on his face.

While the PIOP is picking himself up, a team-mate shoots at the gaping net. It's a guaranteed goal, as no defenders have a chance to stop it. Inadvertently, it hits the PIOP in the backside and bounces back to an onside attacker, who sets up for another shot on net.

Time for a flag?

'Interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate' is the first criteria for an offside offence (after being IOP) - but isn't this ball-to-backside? The ball touched him and blocking a clear goal was surely no advantage for his team.

I can see an inadvertent offside deflection goal being disallowed, therefore I suspect this one would/should also be called back.

' playing, or having contact with, a ball passed by or having contacted a team-mate' would be more clear. (I wonder if other languages have as many problems with the Laws?)

Thanks all, for continued efforts here.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Hope they never end up as a nightmare. lol
Anyway in your scenario the moment the ball hits the player in an offside position offside must be called and an IDFK awarded to the defending team.
It makes no difference that the touch is inadvertent, accidental or whatever off the PIOP as it is still offside. It also makes no difference that the defending team benefited from the PIOP stopping the goal. Indeed at an extreme the PIOP could be knocked out and it would make no difference. It is still offside.
There is a legal maxim which states that a general law is better drafted for the average circumstance as this will be more common. So while Law 11 was not intended for such outlier situations nonetheless the conditions for offside has been met by the PIOP touching the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

There was a training video several years ago* where a player was injured and down in the penalty area, in an offside position. The defender had to sidestep or step over the defender to get to the ball. Offside.

It doesn't take a deliberate action to get involved in for offside, like trying to play the ball. Just getting in the way of the ball is enough to trigger the offense.

* - Might have been footage from one of the WWC held in the US.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,

involvement is not a deliberate or accidental question, it is a yes or no question!

Whether we wish to consider it marginal or trifling is not a concept that the LOTG agree with as it is in effect a black or white issue. Not as a racist unfair distinction but if you can TELL it is then it is!

It is like a ball that is in or out over a boundary line you can be unsure but then it remains in even if it was out.

Offside unless we are sure it IS then it is not!

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Offside Question?

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

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