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Question Number: 32352

Law 11 - Offside 4/5/2018

RE: Rec High School

Zak of Dayton, OH USA asks...

I have a Law 11, Number 4 question: 'If an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick where the offence occurred, including if it is in the players own half of the field of play.' Can you guys give me an example of how this might work? I cannot think of a scenario where an offside would occur in the player's own half. Thanks again for all the info.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Zak
The only way it can happen is in the scenario where an attacking player is positioned in an offside position in the opponents half say close to halfway and that PIOP then returns to his own half to play the ball that has already been player by a team mate. Once the PIOP plays the ball or challenges an opponent etc in his own half offside will be called and the IDFK taken from where he interfered with play or an opponent which will be at that location in his own half.
So while a player cannot be in an offside position in his own half he can complete or commit the final part of an offside offence by interfering with play or an opponent by returning to his own half to do so. It is rare but it does hapoen and I have seen a few in recent times on TV.
If you think about it a player could run 20/30 yards towards goal to be called offside when he interferes with play or an opponent. A run in the opposite direction towards his own goal having started in an offside position has the same consequence.
In the past the IDFK was taken from his offside position which was always in the attacking half whereas now the IDFK is taken from where the offence is committed which can and does include the player's own half.
NFHS has followed this law change with a similar rule change. NFHS states that the change better articulates the difference between being in an offside position and an offside violation.
** Indirect free kick at the spot of the infraction (even in own half), subject to the provisions in P 13.1.3**

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Zak,
The key to how this can work is understanding the difference between being in an offside position and committing an offside offence. Offside position is when a player is closer to the opponents' goal line than the ball and the second-last opponent. It is not an offence to be in an offside position. However it is also not possible to be in an offside position in your own half of the field.

An offside offence occurs when a player who was in an offside position when the ball last touched a team mate, subsequently becomes involved in active play. Especially when the ball is kicked a long way, some time can elapse between the last touch by a team mate and the moment when the player becomes active in play. If during that time, the player moves back from the opponents' half into their own half, the offence can then occur in their own half of the field.

In the Q&A to Law 11, the IFAB explains it like this:

''Q3: The Law now says that the IDFK for offside can be taken in the player's own half but how can this be correct?
It is correct because:

a player CAN NOT be in an offside POSITION in their own half
a player CAN commit an offside OFFENCE in their own half if they go back into their own half from an offside position''

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Zak,
often it is a counter attack where the keeper disperses the ball quickly on a punt out after gaining possession but skies the ball a mile high instead of way down the FOP. This allows for a lot of time and repositioning of players to occur PRIOR to the ball getting to the ground to where it CAN be played . If a teammate of that keeper WAS a PIOP at the time he kicked the ball that player would have had to be in the opposition side of the field. He uses the hang time to return back into his own half, likely unaware he is STILL restricted from INVOLVEMENT due to his offside POSITION earlier.

In the old days the INDFK would have been inside the opposition half at the POSITIONAL point. The change is now the restart occurs at the INVOLVEMENT point! A BIG difference because NOW the scoring possibility is increased given how close it could be to the goal. It was a given that an offside INDFK was just kind of over there somewhere, not exactly a blade of grass restart but I think it becomes less so when it creeps into a possible scoring threat.

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Offside Question?

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

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