Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32496

Law 11 - Offside 6/7/2018

RE: Local parks football Adult

Jason lewis of Cardiff, Wales Wales asks...

If a attacking player is standing in an offside position but the ball comes off a defender is he in a offside or can he play it

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
The answer depends on how the ball *comes off* the defender to use your words.
If the ball deflects or rebounds off a defender that does not reset the original offside and the player in an offside position will be penalised for offside on playing the ball or interfering with an opponent. That is deemed to be gaining an advantage by being in an offside position.
If on the other hand the defender plays the ball then the offside is reset and it will not be called. The quality of the play is immaterial just that it is a play by the defender.
Now there can be a fine line at times between a poor play / misplay and a rebound / deflection. UEFA has given the following advice on assisting referees in determining the difference. You can view it here
In a recent game I officiated a player tried to stop a ball going to a player in an offside position. It was difficult to determine if it was a deflection or not and the AR put up the offside flag which I took.
Have a look at this video
It has caused a debate among referees as some see it as a deflection while others see it as a deliberate play that went wrong. FIFA opined that the offside decision was correct and little debate about it on the field if play.
In this video it is clearer
Blue clearly plays the ball to White so it is not offside just poor play by the defender. The AR kept his flag down correctly.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jason,

A ball OFF an opponent is not quite the same as a ball FROM an opponent.

OFF is classified as a deflection where gaining an advantage is an INDFK

FROM is most often a mistake from a defenders' deliberate play which deserves a THANK you kind sir for the tasty treat by the fortunate attacker benefitting from the error that often winds up in the back of the defenders net!

In someway its rather similar in comparison of how we judge a deliberate handling incident.
Does the ball hit the arm or does the arm hit he ball?

With a deliberate play of course the arms are not permitted to play the ball so we judge did the defender use his body to deliberately play the ball in some fundamental way? OR did he simply react to a object flung at him at high speed and close in with no time to get out of the way or react in a calculated manner?

As my colleagues point out there are guidelines for establishing the distinction but I can assure you there are grey areas where one referee might see it a tad differently than another!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32496
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.