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Question Number: 32398

Law 11 - Offside 4/23/2018

RE: Adult

Fuzesy Anatol of Sighetu M., Romania asks...

Hello,, i have a question about second goal. Why player with no.9 isn't considered as interfering with play sinde capp is going towards and is is continuing to run. Thank you for your time.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Fuzesy,
The reasoning is his presence did NOT interfere with active play or the opponent in that the route to the ball was not impeded in any way.
If say #9 had cut across the path of the white pursuing player causing him to go around then a case for interference of an opponent could be made but if you watch play develop you can see that IF we actually removed number 9 from the FOP nothing would have occurred differently. The fact that a defender might choose to follow an offside player is not sufficient to form an offside as we do not count what defenders think only what the offside opponent actually does. We are told that when an onside and a PIOP are both in position that either might get to the ball we wait for a physical touch. You might have noticed on the 3rd goal there may have been offside players but they were not considered to be blocking the line of sight of the keeper, it was a great shot!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fuzesy
Thanks for the question.
The decision NOT to penalise for offside was 100% correct.
The opening line of Law 11 in the Laws of the Game tells us that it is no an offence to be in an offside position and that the player in an offside position has to either interfere with play by touching the ball or interfering with an opponent by one of reasons listed in Law 11 which includes line of sight interference, challenging an opponent for the ball or other actions which clearly impact on an opponent for offside to be called
In this situation there is a player # Red 98 who is in an onside position and his team mate # Red 9 in an offside position who has no effect / impact whatsoever on the subsequent play. These scenarios are covered in Other Advice in the Laws of the Game booklet which states and I quote
** An attacker in an offside position (A) runs towards the ball and a team-mate in an onside position (B) also runs towards the ball and plays it. (A) did not touch the ball, so cannot be penalised.**
** An attacker in an offside position (A) runs towards the ball but does not prevent the opponent from playing or being able to play the ball. (A) is not challenging an opponent (B) for the ball.** Again not offside
So this is the typical situation that the law makers do not want offside being called on and spell out in the law book that it should only be called on interfering with play or an opponent. Being there or running towards the ball is not interfering with an opponent although many incorrectly think that simply being in an offside position or running towards the ball is interference. Not so.
I was berated recently by a player who tried to prevent a ball going to an opponent who was stood in an offside position some 5/6 yards away. The defender made a poor clearance which went to an onside player and he complained about no offside call as he believed his play was influenced by the offside player. Influenced and interferences are two entirely different matters entirely with interfering means to be directly involved whereas influence is more notional. In an offside context referees only look for interfering with play or an opponent.
So good decision by the officials her and indeed the White team players accept that it is not offside with no appeal whatsoever.
Also as Referee Dawson points out the third goal had four players in an offside position and again none interfered with play or an opponent. Correct decision there as well to award the goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fuzesy,
To be guilty of an offside offence, a player must be actively involved in the play. According to the law, this means the player must either touch the ball themselves or clearly and materially affect an opponent's ability to play the ball. Red no. 9 does neither of these things, so has not committed an offside offence.

Incidentally, Law 11 - Offside, uses some specific and very narrow definitions and under this law, interfering with play means playing or touching the ball so technically, if a player does not touch the ball, they cannot be guilty of interfering with play. A player who does not touch the ball can still be guilty of interfering with an opponent but again, there are clear definitions in the law of what a player must do, in order to interfere with an opponent. These are:

''preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or
challenging an opponent for the ball or
clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball''

As no. 9 does none of these things, he is not guilty of interfering with an opponent either.

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

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