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Question Number: 32700

High School 9/11/2018

RE: Varsity High School

Derek Maple of Cary, IL USA asks...

High School Varsity game using NFHS rules.

Attacker A10 runs to the goal line just outside the goal area to collect a long ball. He chips the ball up toward the 6 yard line as he stumbles over the goal line. Defender D2 attempts a slide tackle as A10 kicks the ball, but misses and slides over the goal line. A11 is at the 6 yard line and heads the ball back towards A10, who has stepped back on the field and heads the ball into the goal.
Assuming no other defenders place A10 onside, is A10 offside because D2 is off the field and not considered?
Is there anything the AR should say or do to get this call right (and subsequently sell it)?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
The first consideration is that D2 is placed on the gosl line for offside purposes on the play by A11.
Now we then must consider the position of A10 at the moment of the play by A11. Is A10 level with any other opponent at that moment such as the goalkeeper?
If the answer to that is no then it is offside. If A10 is level with a team mate of D2 then there is no possible offside.
Without seeing it I would say that unless the goalkeeper or another defender was actually touching the goal line there is every chance that A10 is coming back from an offside position at the moment of the touch by A11
As regards selling the decision all that can be done is an offside flag the moment there is a touch of the ball by A10. If there is no offside then confirming the goal is good by running back up the touchline.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
ok lets sort who is where & when. But first lets realize it is the last TWO opponents & the defender OFF The FOP is STILL part of the equation. Both the defender and the attacker are expected to come back into the FOP as they exited only through natural momentum.

A10 is ONSIDE as he dribbles or gets to the ball and cuts it back into the goal area to a teammate A11 who because he was behind the ball when A10 touched it is onside. Defenders are not in that equation .

As defender D2 has slide out off the FOP trying to stop the pass so he is NOW considered on the goal line for the sake of offside definitions. Is the opposing keeper NOW the 2nd last opponent?

You see because when A 11 HEADS the ball as his last touch we need to know was A10 STILL off the FOP? If so the 2nd last opponent would have to be standing on the goal line as well to make him even with the last two opponents

If A10 had already came back in and managed to come back further than A11 heading attempt the defenders are not required to be in the equation as the ball itself is the offside line.

This seems unlikely!

SO if A10 is still outside or CLOSER to the goal line than the ball upon re entering and D2 is still picking himself up as being ON the goal line then 1 more opponent MUST be closer than A10 (likely the keeper?) or even with the goal line WHEN A11 heads the ball. If the keeper was there goal is good, if the keeper had come forward say to block the header as the 2nd last defender then A10 could be offside after re-entering if he was standing closer to the goal line than the 2nd last opponent ie keeper when A11 heads it over to him.

The AR should simply watch observe the relationship of the players and either raise the flag to indicate offside or upon the scoring of the goal take the get ready for kick off position. If there are concerns the CR would be the one to explain. If he needed your input then give it!

For the defender OFF the FOP to be ignored it can be unfair if a defender who goes off the field of play (often through injury) remains ‘active’ on the goal line until play next stops as play can continue for a long time. The new wording makes it clear that once the defending team has cleared the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area, that ‘phase of play’ has ended and the defender is no longer ‘active’ for offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Derek,
According to NFHS rules, ''The defender cannot create an offside by stepping off the field,'' so your defender D2 is still considered for the purposes of offside. Therefore, if there is no other defender playing A10 onside, the attacker A10 should be ruled offside. If however there is another opponent closer to the goal line than A10 when A11 heads the ball, A10 would be onside.

Depending on which scenario holds true, the AR should just flag as normal for the offside or run towards the half-way line to indicate the goal is good, as applicable. I don't think the AR needs to do anything to 'sell' the decision, that would be up to the referee (if necessary).

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

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