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Question Number: 32658

Law 11 - Offside 8/20/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Sal of CHICAGO, IL USA asks...

In the game Chelsea vs Arsenal on Chelsea's last break away at minute 15:54 in the video, the attacker clearly in an offside position (about 5 yards) purposely lets the ball go between his legs so his team mate who was coming from behind and not in an offside position, could control the ball. How come this was not called offside?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
The decision hinges on whether in the opinion of the referee the action of the player in an offside position interfered with an opponent.

Interfering with an opponent is stated as 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 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.
If the answer is no to all these four questions then there is no offside.
So dummying or running over a ball in an offside position and leaving it for an onside team mate is not offside in itself. There has to be more such as one of the four actions above. .
In this scenario the Arsenal defender is at least 5/7 yards from the ball and the PIOP so there is no possibility of interfering with an opponent. In fact it is a great example of a wait and see decision when two player from the same team can play the ball. An early offside flag here would have been wrong as the player that plays the ball was clearly onside and in no way did the PIOP interfere with play or an opponent. No appeal by the Arsenal defender either for offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Sal,
those unclear about what constituted plays the ball would scream for this to be offside claiming the ball was played but under the current LOTG the ball MUST be touched to be considered played. The only aspect to consider is was an opponent interfered with? Line of sight, being very close to block and preventing access to the ball? Given there was no opponent prevented from challenging, the ball was not touched and it is NOT an offence to be in an offside position there is NO involvement thus play on!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Sal,
In order for an offside offence to be committed, the player in an offside position has to either interfere with play by touching the ball, gain an advantage by touching a ball that has deflected or rebounded from an opponent or the frame of the goal, or interfere with an opponent. Obviously the first two of those did not occur so we are left with interfering with an opponent.

As the law, as quoted by ref McHugh states, interfering with an opponent can only occur when a player is:

''preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball''

Since in this instance no opponent was prevented from doing either of these things, there is no offside offence.

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Offside Question?

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

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