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Question Number: 32792

Law 11 - Offside 10/12/2018

RE: Rec Under 15

Ryan Brenneman of Charlotte , North Carolina USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32767

Referee Dawson states in the referenced question that for offsides, what the defender does is not taken into account. Example: striker is PIOP at the PK mark. Rt wing carries past theoutside last defender and turns toward goal. Center defender sees striker and defends a potential pass instead of attacking the wing with the ball. Wing keeps ball and shoots. Since the PIOP did not touch the ball but did certainly influence the play and position of the defender giving the wing an uncontested shot vs only the goalie is this offsides? I would have said yes as the PIOP interferes in play by causing the defender to move differently than if the attacker had not been there. In my example had the PIOP not been there the center defender would have challenged the wing. Offsides or no?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ryan
That interpretation is not correct. The player has to interfere with play or interfere with an opponent as outlined in Law 11.
The Law makes no allowance for poor choices / decisions by the defending team based on the position of players even those in an offside position.
Taken at its extreme it is not offside if a defender chooses not to go to the ball carrier due to deciding to cover another attacker in an offside position. That may and can benefit the ball carrier yet it not an offside offence.
That is articulated in the IFAB circular cited by Referee Grove.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ryan,
My interpretation is worded as my opinion because I try to convey that what defenders THINK does not matter.
Offside position is not an offence & we do not consider the thoughts of a defender deciding to mark a PIOP, given defenders will deliberately try to make an opponent into a PIOP so he can be held accountable if he DOES participate. . WE ONLY look at the actions of the PIOP does he physically touch the ball or actually interfere with an opponent who is trying to get to the ball?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Ryan,
When they made a number of the most recent clarifications to the offside law, the IFAB was at pains to point out that in order to be guilty of interfering with an opponent, the offside-positioned player must have a clear and direct effect on the opponent's physical ability to play the ball.

IFAB Circular no. 3, issued 17 July 2015, posits a scenario that is very close to the one you describe, as follows:

''if the ball is on the right-hand side of the field and an 'offside' player in the centre of the field moves into a new attacking position he is not penalised unless this action affects an opponent's ability to play the ball''

Merely influencing the opponent's thinking, or causing the opponent to choose a different course of action in reaction to a player in an offside position is not enough - it's the opponent's actual ability to physically play the ball that must be affected.

So in your example, if the defender chooses not to challenge the winger but stays with the striker, there is no offside offence as the striker has not clearly and directly affected the defender's physical ability to play the ball.

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Offside Question?

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

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