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Question Number: 32456

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 5/19/2018

RE: Recreation Adult

Francis of ESSEX, United Kingdom asks...

I was the defender, an opponent was picked offside by the Assistant Referee(5 yards offside). On seeing the offside flag raised in front of me,(being close to the line), I left the ball for my left back to take the spot kick and walked away.
The same player picked for offside ran to the ball and carried on playing. A pass was made by the same player to a team mate who went on to score a goal.
The central referee gave the goal-his explanation 'I should play to the whistle', that he overruled the Assistant Referee's decision to give an offside.
Should the goal stand? Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Francis ,
A CARDINAL mistake my young friend .
It is a good goal even IF the AR was correct, that is not to say he was! !

As a Coach I expressly tell my players you ALWAYS play to the whistle ! The AR flag is NOT a signal FOR you, it is ONLY for the referee. He can choose to ignore it or wave it off as he is the central controller of the match.

Given offside is criteria based and the AR COULD be missing a piece of the puzzle the CR will wave off the AR flag he is sure that flag is incorrect.
It might suck given you think the AR should NOT raise the flag unless it WAS offside, however, the FINAL decision was NEVER the ARS . IT ALWAYS rests with the man with the whistle in the middle of the park.
Lesson learned! DO NOT STOP PLAYING .

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Francis,
Yes, the goal should stand. The AR's flag is not 'a decision,' it is just an indication to the referee. The actual decision is made by the referee who is entitled to overrule the flag signal. The referee is absolutely right that you should play to the whistle - this is something that I was taught as a youngster and it was constantly reinforced by various coaches as I got older. It is also apparent to anyone who watches football - hardly a week goes by without at least one example in a televised match of a referee waving down a flag signal from an AR.

Actually, I think it should happen more often - I'm amazed at the number of times in high-level games that I see AR's indicate for an offside offence when a player in an offside position is in no way involved in active play (does not touch the ball and is not interfering with an opponent), especially when the ball is running out of play for a goal kick or throw-in.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Francis
Play does not stop until a signal is given by the referee which is a whistle. The AR here in his opinion believed there was an offside offence and for whatever reason the referee decided that was not correct so he waved the flag down. The reasons can be that the ball was played by a defender, the player in an offside position was not interfering or that the AR missed a defender playing everyone onside.
So in your example the goal should stand and a hard lesson learned of playing to the whistle.
Have a look at this video
The referee correctly sees that a Green defender has kicked the ball to the Blue player in an offside position. That cannot be offside and the AR has missed that vital kick by Green. The referee waves down the offside flag as he knows it is not offside, some in Green stop as they see the flag go up and a Blue player scores. The only possible outcome is to award a goal.
A flag in error mechanics are never helpful in a game situation yet the old adage of play to the whistle always applies.

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Offside Question?

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

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