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Question Number: 32690

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/7/2018

RE: Competitive Adult

Ajmal of Toronto, On Canada asks...


I applied advantage to a foul committed, but during the advantage the ball was directly passed to a teammate who was declared offside.

Is the restart the initial foul, or the subsequent offside?


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Ajmal,
during the time you were deciding or later?

if while in the midst of DECIDING ( 1 to 3 possibly 5 seconds) if there is an advantage and the ball is passed off to an offside teammate, there is no advantage, bring it back to the foul. Lets punish the team playing unfairly not the team trying to make the best of a bad situation. Nor is simply having possession the true advantage. Even if he has options to dribble but chose an unwise pass to an offside teammate there is little advantage in giving the ball away so we can bring it back to the point of the foul which is in fact a more serious crime than offside. If the foul was caradable at the next stoppage then the offside best be a long time after the foul to not bring it back.

Where the offside call becomes more obvious is if AFTER you signal & call out Advantage and then dropped the arm signal yelled out , Play On! This is because you have declared publically, I saw the foul but your possession & attack options are so good I am not stopping play, make of it as you will.

.The foul for which we could have stopped play we permitted play to continue, in our opinion you squandered the continuity of advantage as there were other options to pass, you were not being challenged or still recovering from the foul itself when you elected to pass.
Then, after all of that, OH such a bad decision, to make a pass to an offside team mate, INDFK out

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ajmal
It all depends. If the foul happens and the fouled player immediately play the ball to a team mate in an offside position perhaps still if balance, not fully recovered from the foul then there is no advantage so play can and should be brought back.
However if the fouled player gets on with play and 2/3 seconds later makes a bad choice by playing the ball to an offside positioned player then unfortunately the player has squandered the advantage.
My preference is that within the 3 seconds window the best decision can be to bring it back for the foul with a shout of *No Advantage there so we are coming back to the foul*.
Also we have to evaluate whether there was an advantage there in the first place in such situations. That can be a difficult one and sometimes the 'Wait and See' what develops is the best approach. In your example if you have waited a few seconds, advantage is still there then we do not come back if the player subsequently makes a poor choice.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

It depends. If the only 'advantage' you saw was a pass to the offside positioned teammate (who you didn't realize was offside until the pass was made) then there really wasn't an advantage to be had and you should go back to the foul.<

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Alma,
It's a good question.
I'll preface this by saying that in Australia (where I'm from), we're instructed that when applying advantage, you wait to see if it materialises THEN signal/call advantage - and once we signal it, we can't go back.
Advantage equals possession plus opportunity. The player retains the ball, they have possession, but do they have opportunity?
Let's go back to something a bit more basic. Take the offside out of the equation. If the player retains the ball, has it completely under control and not under pressure, but then kicks it straight out, then that's simply a bad decision. They've had the opportunity but squandered it. They don't get a 2nd bite at the cherry. If, on the other hand, they try to pass an awkward ball as they're still off balance and that goes out, then they've been affected by the advantage, so you go back to it.
So when it comes down to an offside player - why did the attacker pass to a Player In an Offside Position (PIOP)?
If Attacker B is onside at the time of the foul and timing their run, and by the time Attacker A recovers the ball Attacker B is now in an offside position and Attacker A then passes it, you go back to the foul. Why? Because the opportunity is gone. They had an opportunity before the foul - the onside attacker - that doesn't exist after the foul. The only reason Attacker B is now a PIOP is because of the delay from the foul.
But what if Attacker B was 10 yards behind the defender the whole time? Well, again, consider opportunity. If Attacker A recovers from the foul, but has nobody to pass it to and has defenders in front of him, then there's no opportunity is there? So go back to the foul (although if there is nobody to pass it to and nowhere to run, then you probably shouldn't have considered advantage to start with).
But what if the foul doesn't change the position of the players, and there is 1-2 onside attackers and one PIOP, both before and after the foul? And Attacker A simply makes the wrong choice and passes to the PIOP? For me, he's wearing that. I'm not protecting him from a bad choice.
Of course, it can be difficult to tell if the foul has made the critical difference between the onside and offside players, so I'd be giving the benefit of the doubt to the ball carrier and, unless you can clearly see they've made the wrong decision that's not attributable to the foul, then go back to the foul.
And that goes back to what I said right at the start. If, after the foul, Attacker A is still running with the ball, has it under control and not in immediate pressure, and appears to have attacking options (either teammates, or space to run into ), then I'm calling out 'PLAY ON! ADVANTAGE!'. Then, if he chooses to send it to the PIOP, it's easy - it's offside.

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