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Question Number: 32743

Law 11 - Offside 9/25/2018

Brian of Brooklyn, NY USA asks...

Hi Gents,

Off-side questions.

1) Attacker in an off-side position runs back, tackles defender and comes away with the ball. Assuming the defender either had control or attempted to play the ball, is this offisde or not?

2) Two attackers have legally broken through the defence. Attacker A who is ahead of attacker B shoots at goal, hits the framework. The ball rebounds to B. Is B offside?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
1. Answers depends on how the defender got the ball and how long he had control / possession of the ball. If the ball was played by an attacker and the player in an offside position at the moment of that play then challenging a defender for the ball that would be offside.
It would not be offside if
A. The ball was played to the defender by a team mate
B. The defender had unfettered control of the ball for a period of time before being challenged
2. As Attacker B us behind the ball at the moment of the shot he is in an onside position so there is no possible offside. It would only be offside if B was ahead of A at the moment of th shot

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Brian,

it is not a infringement to be offside position but we JUDGE the involvement aspect as either touching the ball physically or interfering with the opponent in some OBVIOUS fashion.

Although proximity can be enough on occasion to classify as involvement we look at how the opponent is affected by WHAT the PIOP does.

We could also consider if there is a reasonable chance of a collision?

Think on these scenarios.

A defender has an unobstructed view of a chest high ball but is UNAWARE a PIOP is closing him down from behind the defender takes the ball off his chest and controls it to drop to his feet just as the PIOP streaks by sticks in a foot stripes the ball out and away he goes.

A defender has an unobstructed view of a gently rolling ball but is UNAWARE a PIOP is standing quietly directly 1 yard behind. The defender takes the ball and controls with his feet wondering whether to pass or dribble just as the PIOP streaks by sticks in a foot stripes the ball out and away he goes.

Now the argument made here is did the defender simply last play a ball and the PIOP opponent ONLY participated after control was established and did nothing to prevent this? Does the fact there was no challenge from the opponent make the steal ok or is his proximity just too close to ignore?

Would not a fast incoming PIOP be sufficient to CALL offside to prevent a possible collision? Was not the challenge occurring the closer he got to that ball?

I would be inclined to award offside in both these situations.
Both are using their offside position to gain an advantage over their opponents by challenging just as they are playing the ball

Now if the distance between the players is greater & there is lots of time to make a play on the ball & they are not rushed by a challenge or too early an attempt to BE involved then the direct deliberate actions by the defenders will reset the PIOP to full active status and they can sneak in to grab the ball given there was no pressure applied no challenge was there to prevent them playing that ball away.

In your B scenario the attacker B is free to play ANY rebound because he was ONSIDE at the time of the shot . In other wards the ball was closer to the opposition's goal then attacker B when attacker A (his team mate LAST touched the ball)

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brian,
In your first scenario, you do not say how the defender got the ball, how long they'd had it, what level of control/possession they had exercised over it, nor where the attacker was when the ball was last played by a team mate. Depending on all these factors, there might or might not be an offside offence here.

For me, ref McHugh has given an accurate summation of the factors to consider in making the offside offence determination.

In your second scenario, based on your description there is no offside offence as attacker B was not closer to the opponent's goal line than the ball when the ball was last played by a team mate.

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

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