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Question Number: 32605

Law 11 - Offside 7/25/2018

RE: Adult

Christos Dimos of Hamburg, Hambrug Deutschland asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32296

whether this was offside or not, the ref first gave the goal, as you can see by the reaction of the PAOK players after talking to the linesman.
After a bit he revises his decision to offside.

Is this valid? I thought in football there is something called fact decision. (VAR is coming next season to greece)

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Christos,
There was a lot of confusion (and a lot of questions) about this incident at the time. The game was abandoned with the circumstances surrounding the goal still unclear. According to the referee himself, in his official match report, a photocopy of which was published in the Greek media:

''I first raised my hand indicating an offside offense, and after consulting my assistant to confirm if the goal was valid or not (i.e. offside or not) I decided to award it.''

So the referee did change an initial decision on the goal but according to his match report, in the opposite direction. Whichever way he changed it, it would permissible, as a referee is allowed to change a decision after consulting with another match official.

However, this would not have been a 'fact-based decision.' Whether a player is in an offside position is a factual matter but this decision hinged on whether a player in an offside position had interfered with an opponent, which is a matter of an official's judgement call.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Christos
Here is my opinion on this.
The referee awarded the goal and there was no offside flag with the assistant seeming to agree with the goal decision.
After a strong protest by the conceding team the referee appears to speak with the assistant referee and it looked to me that an offside decision was made by the referee. The referee is seen to run back into the penalty area and raise his arm which would be interpreted as offside with the goal cancelled? That was met with vehement protest by the attacking team,
I am not sure if he changed his mind again reverting back to his first decision and there was so much going on.
As to the actual decision it is a matter of opinion as to whether it was offside or not.
The player that looked to be in an offside position did not appear to touch the ball and we are then left to decide whether his position interfered with the goalkeepers and defenders ability to play the ball. That is a matter of opinion and from my viewing of it it does not appear that he did?
As to the validity of a referees decision there was nothing wrong in what was done. The referee could change his mind multiple times based on the input of assistants or a 4th official and the only decision that would matter would be the one that restarts play as the referee cannot then go back after that restart
If the restart had been allowed we would know for sure what the final referee decision would have been.
For me and what I saw here the decision could have gone either way. I think it was probably more of a goal than offside.
As to VAR on the call all that would happen is that the referee would get to review the decision by looking at the video on a monitor. Two referees could review the decision and have two differing interpretations. It is not a matter of fact but of one of opinion.
Matters of fact are decisions made by the referee such as an actual decision made. Most calls are opinion based
The more concerning part for me was the way the game had to be abandoned due to threat of violence and a pitch invasion. There is no place for that in the game

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Christos,
as I said earlier the AR appeared to be ok with the goal given his reactions initially. It is likely the decision to change the goal created more problems than going with the initial decision but SOMETHING had to have occurred to CHANGE the CRs mind. Without talking to the CR we have no idea as to why he chose his actions. Hopefully it was because he was 100% convinced it was the correct decision and as a referee with integrity we award what we know or believe to be true!

I know it s difficult to remain calm in an emotional setting where a goal is awarded or denied in a secondary decision after the fact. BUT the referee has an obligation to get the call correct (according to his knowledge of events) and the LOTG allow a reversal of a decision up to the restart of play.

The unwise actions of disappointed players shows shallow character and disrespect but sadly the recent WC provided no better at times when it comes to referee player confrontation. Somehow this needs to be addressed as it causes problems for all of soccer at all levels if referees can be mobbed when a decision does not go a certain way. .


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