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Question Number: 32250

Law 11 - Offside 2/21/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32240

So the arms and hands are not considered as part of the defending players body in regard to offside.

Have never heard that before.

Have never had a branch coach explain that, and have never heard this in any broadcast of a match where the commentators mention this (ok, they rarely know the fine details anyway).

So if the second defending team player is standing a foot inside his half with their arm outstretched pointing to their keeper located middle of the goal box, and an attacking player is beyond the torso, head and legs of the defender, but level with their outstretched arm "they are offside.

Have never ever heard or read of anyone mentioning that before - that the defenders arm and hand are not to be considered in determining if an attacker is offside.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

No surprise that commentators don't know it - they're never the best source of the laws!
While many referee assumed this to be the interpretation, it's only recently that it became enshrined in law. So it probably should have come up when the overall changes were discussed.
Basically, offside is only considered against a legally playable part of the body. Don't believe us? It's the first point in Law 11:

A player is in an offside position if:
 any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents' half (excluding the
halfway line) and
 any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents' goal line than
both the ball and the second-last opponent
The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not

P93 of the online version.
In answer to your question - yes, the attacker is in an offside position. If you can't legally choose to play the ball with your arms it doesn't make sense to consider the arms when it comes to offside position.

I'm glad it's the case too - it would make it much, much harder to judge offside, especially when the player slightly behind has his arms all over the attacker!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The first paragraph of Law 11 could not be any clearer and it is quoted by Referee Wright. The relevant part is **The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.**
It is why the imaginary line on TV is most times put on the leg of a player rather than an outstretched arm.
In your example the outstretched arm does not put the PIOP in an onside position as the line is taken off the defenders torso / head or leg whichever is closer to the goal line NOT the arm. BTW the same applies to the goalkeeper so if he laying on the ground as the second last opponent the arms are not considered.
In the past it was Decision 1 in Law 11 which were additions that IFAB made without rewording the law. That Decision 1 was subsequently added into the actual wording of Law11.
This is what Decision stated in the older law books. Quote
** Decision 1
In the definition of offside position, 'nearer to his opponents goal line' means that any part of his head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition.**
That has been around for a very long time

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
If you want a good practical illustration of this principle, you need look no further than the recent VAR decision in the Huddersfield vs Man Utd FA Cup game.

As you may know, the original picture shown to TV viewers was incorrect and had a wobbly line, drawn in the wrong place but in the correct version (which was the one used by the VAR) the 'offside line' is drawn touching the defender's knee - and not his hand which was closer to the goal line.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32250
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See Question: 32255

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Offside Question?

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

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