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Question Number: 32242

Law 11 - Offside 2/18/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32239

A follow-up response to Joe McHugh's recommended video on wait-and-see offside: is a close example of my 'grey area' problem. The Red PIOP is likely to get to the ball first and is committed to the run.

Joe feels it should be flagged and blown down before it runs its course. Richard Dawson seems to be saying he wants more wait-and-see.

Note: Due to its angle and pace, the ball is likely to go out of bounds for a defender's throw-in, deep in the corner. This gives a positional advantage for Red, compared to a defender's free kick farther up the field - but I think Richard is saying so-be-it.

There's no audio on this clip, so we don't know when the ref's whistle blows. I suspect it was a second or two before the Red player gets to the ball and stops it from going out.

But as Richard Dawson contends: the Red player hadn't necessarily earned an offside call yet. If the defender was late getting there, the Red PIOP could have let the ball go over the line, rather than touching it. In other fouls, we wait for the event to happen before calling it. Not here?

Training point (that I've been caught on myself): the AR should have switched the flag to the right hand for an offside signal, followed by pointing to the spot of the free kick.

In the video, she uses the left hand, raises the flag straight up, then points up-field, as if for a throw-in or defender's free kick.

Separate point: I'd like to see soccer borrow a page from ice hockey, where (in some cases) the linesman yells at offside players (with a hand up, I believe) to give them a chance to back out of the zone and re-enter. If they don't, the play is blown down and there's a face-off outside the zone.

If soccer used such a tactic, PIOPs (on long passes especially) could stand still or back off, allowing play to continue. I.E. '#5, you're off!,' as coaches sometimes tell their players.

Or, as I've seen done in some amateur settings, the AR could signal with their free hand that this is a good pass (sort of a one-handed 'advantage' signal), as they head down the line. This could be a signal for the CR and for all players involved.

Your thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
In my game today a PIOP moved after the ball which then went out of play for a goal kick. One player complained that they should have had an offside IDFK some 30 yards plus up the field. I told him that there was no possible offside. If the PIOP had got to touch the ball the IDFK would be taken from where the ball was touched. The player's opinion is dated.
As to instructing players I do not believe that would work or be a good idea.Much can happen between the play on the ball and the offside being called. Part of offside is for players to be aware of what is happening around them and that is a judgement call for players not official to make or assist with.
So for me the wait and see flag is a tool that is there for officials to use as they see appropriate. I would restrict the early flag to possible contact between players and to situations of NO other possible outcome such as these examples shown.
I also believe that the concession as made when Law 11 was amended on this in 2005 was to placate old school ARs who felt that the flag should go up without any requirement for a touch when it was clear that offside was going to happen. The game has moved on now with players pulling up, onside players getting involved etc so the 2005 concession is not as vital as seen back some 12/13 years ago. BTW back then the advice was that the IDFK was taken from the offside position. That does not square up now with the IDFK taken from the location of the offence which can be in the other half. Add in all the other changes and advice and the early flag should be a rare enough occurrence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
ONLY if I think there is a possible safety issue would I indicate an early offside . In truth though that flag is not early, it raised because players need TIME to react and stop if indeed they are restricted from play and the likely hood of interference is PLAIN for all to see. I do not believe the CR or AR should indicate ANYTHING . It is for the players to choose their own actions!

I hold that ANY ball directed at the goal being pursued by a PIOP if there is NO chance of a collision we MUST wait until the PIOP touches that ball or that ball enters the goal or crosses into touch. If the interference of a possible keeper collision or save issue or a very definite line of sight issue is there by all means raise the flag.

IF the ball is being pursued into the corner or along the touch lines and there is ABSOLUTELY no way the ball will be going into touch. The PIOP is in head down pursuit and is running full tilt. No one is close to him and he is a step away it would not be unreasonable to pull him up as nothing of consequence was able to happen . Even if he realised at the very last moment I better jump over it as I can not play it!

However, when a PIOP is pursuing a shot on goal we KNOW his actual touch is a DEFINITE offside but we also know the ball has sufficient momentum it does not require his touch IF no opponent can get there in time. The PIOP simply extending a leg or jumping at the ball TRYING to play it means absolutely nothing if he does not alter the balls' momentum or stops any opponent from being able to get to the ball ahead of him or has not convincingly blocked the line of sight of the keeper.

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