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Question Number: 32748

Law 11 - Offside 9/26/2018

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32744

At our 2018 refresher course, there was a FIFA clarification that for the purpose of offside, the 'last touched by a team-mate' would be timed to be at the start of the touch, rather than the end.

We no longer get free Law books, so I can't easily find the quote¦ can't find it on-line, either.

So: if a player makes a lofted scoop pass (where the foot stays in contact with the ball, from the ground to the release point at waist height) that could be a huge timing challenge for officials. An attacker could easily take a step or two before the ball is released from the passer's foot - but the clarification says the attacker can move into an offside position when the kick begins.

If the clarification also applies to a keeper's throw, the timing gap could be even more profound. Once the keeper's wind-up is done, an attacker is presumably free to step into offside territory, as the release has begun.

If the above is correct, I'm fine with that, as it pushes us toward the day when offside is either thrown out or drastically altered. And I'd be fine with no offside law, as I've said before.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
It was a new addition this year to Law 11
** The first point of contact of the 'play' or 'touch' of the ball should be used**
The explanation given is that slow motion shows a detectable difference between the first and last contact with the ball so a definition of the precise moment that the ball is 'played ' is needed when judging offside position.
So this is more to do with the use of VAR than the use of the naked eye. For grassroots it is still going to be a judgement call on the moment the ball is played.
It is recognised that applying the offside rule correctly in a game, the assistant referee must be able to keep in his visual field at least five objects at the same time—two players of the attacking team, the last two players of the defending team, and the ball. Many times this is beyond the capacity of the human eye, which may explain why ARs get some offside decisions wrong. Adding in first point of contact is not going to help the AR just the VAR room.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

I like the 1st contact rule of touch but I see no correlation in the release of a throw as not substantiating the moment when the ball leaves the hand as the last touch for offside positional determination. IT can not be looked at from the windup but in the follow though as the ball is carried in the hands not kicked or scooped. Keep in mind should a keeper releases the ball to bounce or kick it as a punt, then the KICK is the release moment not the ball leaving the hands for offside. The keeper is entitled to handle the ball for 6 seconds you are not going to have much fun trying to start offside positioning criteria from when a keeper grabs the ball with his hands I assure you! Personally I like to see offside only apply on balls passed from within the opposition half.
Given offside is a 2 part equation making the 1st part easier to catch is a good thing. The rapid ball movement over 50 mph, at odd angles, opposing players moving in opposing directions at 20 MPHs. So much EXTRA movement occurs before we can process the information. The OLD adage when in doubt DO NOT WAVE IT ABOUT comes from the proven theory if it is close it is likely NOT offside FAR more often than it is offside

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
As the explanation given by the IFAB states, this amendment has to do with viewing slow motion replays - so in terms of refereeing it really only applies when using VAR. In the vast majority of cases, it will have no impact on everyday refereeing and even when VAR is in use, it is for the benefit of those in the VOR rather than the on-field referee.

I agree with my colleague ref Dawson that this is not applicable to the goalkeeper throwing the ball, at least not in the way you state. It does not mean that when the goalie has the ball in their hands, a team mate can then move into offside territory with impunity.

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

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