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Question Number: 32767

Law 11 - Offside 10/2/2018

RE: High School

patrick of richboro, pa usa asks...

If the ball carrier is not offside but one of his teammates is in an offside position but the ball carrier never passes to him can he ever be called offside?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Patrick
Opening line of Law 11 states that it is not an offence to be in an offside position.
So the player that is positioned in an offside position has to do more than being in that position. That includes interfering with play and interfering with an opponent.
So there can be times when the ball carrier does not pass to the PIOP yet the PIOP can interfere with an opponent by: 
# 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.
Generally if the player in an offside position is not participating in play there is no possible offside offence other than line of sight to the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Patrick,
offside is ALWAYS a 2 part equation.
The first part is NOT against the laws of the game PROVIDED the player NEVER involves himself in the 2nd part
Part 1 is the POSITION established when a team mate last touches the ball be it on purpose or accidently . Once it is determined you are a PIOP (player in an offside position) you are NOW restricted from being INVOLVED in active play to where you CAN NOT TOUCH the ball itself or in some manner interfere with an opponent in their ability to play the game.
What we NOW look for from the PIOP is the 2nd part INVOLVEMENT. DOES the PIOP in someway unfairly affect play by interfering with play? Touching the ball? Interfering with an opponent blocking, impeding, challenging or acting in a manner which CLEARLY affects their opponent's ability to play the ball?

In your scenario we have a player who is part 1 as a PIOP, but when or if at anytime he never becomes involved in active play, in what he does in no way affects the game, he does not receive a pass, interferes with no opponent, then he will NOT be called offside as he never made the commitment to part 2 Involvement.
Let me clarify something here !
No matter what, we do not CONSDER what the defenders do, or choose to do, or think .
We ONLY look at the actions of the PIOP.
Even though he MIGHT TRY to participate, unless he BECOMES involved in the outcome, it simply does not matter.
Think of it as if we erased him off the FOP and determined what would occur differently?
In a recent match there was a shot at the goal, the PIOP chased the shot and actually stuck out his leg trying to play the ball into the goal. The ball hopped over his leg and entered the goal. He was in behind the keeper and no other opponent was nearby . The AR had raised the flag at the lunge but quickly dropped it. OF course screams for offside rang out but the AR although he admitted he thought the offside was imminent he jumped the gun because the ball was NEVER Touched and there was no interference of sight or action as no opponent was close or blocked out from making a play. But he did try he TRIED To play it? was the cry, yes but lucky for his team he missed, IF had touched the ball it would be no goal. Our PIOP was NOT involved in the outcome of play because nothing he did affected the final result!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Patrick,
Although a player in an offside position can commit an offside offence without actually touching the ball - and ref McHugh has given the actual wording from the law as to how this can occur, you will note that all of these require involvement with the ball in one way or another.

The most common way that a teammate can commit an offside offence without being passed to is when the player with the ball takes a shot and the team mate then interferes with an opponent in one of the ways mentioned.

However, if the ball remains in the possession of the ball carrier and never leaves his feet, it is very difficult for me to visualise how the team mate could actually commit an offside offence. It's not totally impossible but it would be highly unusual for a player to be penalised for offside while the ball remains with someone else.

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Offside Question?

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

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