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Question Number: 32302

Law 11 - Offside 3/13/2018

RE: Pro Adult

AEK Fan Club of NY of New York, New York USA asks...

Please let me know if you think the goal in the video linked below is valid or not.
The referee originally called it legal.
Then he called offside
Then after the game was interrutped, in the locker room, called it legal again.
Opinions of referees are divided.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

I answered this earlier, but as an OPINION, when in REAL time and a PIOP is THAT Close to TWO opponents who look as if they are affected by the fact the PIOP is TRYING to play the ball I have no real problem calling it offside given the proximity and the fact it certainly looked like the PIOP was challenging and interfering with the opposition.

For me it is NOT CLEAR it was a clean good goal. If we were to remove the PIOP WOULD a goal have resulted by the header. I can only say possibly NOT for certain.

The offside is interesting because in Real time it looked suspicious but in slow motion dissection there was reason to think it was ok.
Offside was altered to encourage more scoring but when PIOP are actively challenging in such close proximity to the ball and to the keeper and blocking the path of a defender. If we read the rational of HOW we determine involvement it is not apparent to me that the goal is a good clean goal and as such I have no issue seeing it called back as offside. If we remove the PIOP are we CERTAIN a goal would be scored? I think not. A possibility I think so. Is that good enough ? I think not!

The fact in the match the AR signalled the goal was good because he immediately ran up the touchline to reposition himself for kick off. IF the AR was concerned the goal was not good he would have remained standing there OR raised the flag if he was SURE it WAS offside. The AR indicated to ALL it WAS a good goal based on HIS view initially.
NOW the CR felt different but we do not know WHY? Did he MISTAKENLY believe the PIOP TOUCHED the ball? If so then the CR was incorrect IF that was his reasoning. Replay shows the PIOP avoided the ball be it deliberately or accidently the fact was he did not TOUCH the ball.
DID the CR initially believe the keeper and the nearby defender were interfered with? That is the crucial question in real time. From my perspective it appeared as if a PIOP ACTIVELY challenged for the ball preventing the keeper and defender from having an unimpeded opportunity to that ball

This is a classic situation where FIFA/IFAB should publically state FOR THE RECORD WHY THIS IS OR IS NOT OFFSIDE. IT may well be a case only a VAR video asst. referee TV system could confirm or deny.

WE are taught when in doubt do not wave it about. I am talking about raising the flag for offside! It is a message that offside is not as definitive at times as to position which in this case is a no brainer there WAS a PIOP (player in offside position) this question deals solely with INVOLVEMENT. It is not an automatic offside just because a PIOP TRYS to get involve. It is ONLY involvement if he DOES physically touch the ball thus interfering with play or Interferes with an opponent. What constitutes interfering with an opponent is written into the LOTG as criteria, in this case the match referee must of felt the criteria were met or incorrectly thought the PIOP had touched the ball. These are his only explanations. Did seeing a video later in slow motion cause him to doubt what he thought in real time? ABSOLUTELY bigoted slow motion frame by frame dissection is crushing the real time decisions because it is COMPLETELY biased information. a referee is NEUTRAL and during a match cannot be influenced by such nonsense. A referee can be wrong BUT his decision should NOT be biased. . A VAR COULD SHOW 100% the PIOP did not touch the ball but only an opinion can be put forth a to why this was or was not interference with an opponent.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Much has been said about this incident.
Much of interfering with an opponent in Law 11 is subjective and match officials are left to determine what is interfering with an opponent. That is why officials are divided on this. In days gone by it was without doubt offside as the player was in an area of active play. Many in the game still see this as offside as perhaps would older match officials. Now under the current law we have to form an opinion as to whether the player impacted on the play of opponents. Jumping around in close proximity of opponents and the ball is in my opinion interfering. Some can view the action as not impacting based on video evidence?
So yes the goal was awarded yet there was sufficient furore about the call which prompted a discussion between the referee and assistant which came to the conclusion that it was interfering with an opponent and that is perfectly fine. The referee may have asked whether the 'interfering' player was in an offside position or not. The referee can be seen to be signaling an offside call after that and had play restarted that would have been the end of it. The only issue for me was that the assistant should have stood where he was and consulted with the referee as there was a significant doubt about the goal. If it was reviewed after the game and the referee said it was not offside based on his looking at a video that makes no difference to the game. The game was over as it was abandoned. Now as play has not restarted with an IDFK there is a doubt over the offside decision and the goal being technically cancelled. I doubt though any League can make a call on this as the onfield decision was clearly offside before being abandoned and video evidence cannot be used later in reviewing a call. That requires VAR which is not yet in place in this League
If I was asked to rule on it I would say offside, 0-0, game over and the League should sanction the clubs for the behaviour on the field of play which caused the game to be abandoned. It has other options including replaying from that moment of abandonment or a full replay and it all depends on the referees report and the options available under the ROCs rules of competition in this league.

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

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