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Question Number: 32913

Law 11 - Offside 12/11/2018

RE: Rec Adult

russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32909

Yes, I like to delve into the finer points, however, only for the purpose of helping to ensure I don't fall onto a trap of making 'Gotcha' calls.

In this particular incident, I can see why the near side AR could feel the ball was 'close', however, I just wonder if he did not do as we are so often advised " to pause for a moment.

Yes, the attacker was 'close' on the last touch by a teammate, however, a pause would have helped to see that the ball and the attacker went in different directions, which might therefore be seen as no longer as really being 'close'.

So then was the attacker 'clearly attempting to play the ball which is close' " as it turns out, the attacker (in this instance), did not get near enough to attempt to play the ball and is not seen attempting to play the actual ball. Yes, he was following where the ball was going, however, is that actually 'clearly attempting' to play the ball. (this is one thing that might have been more apparent if there was more of a pause).

So did the attacker make in 'impact' on an opponent.
This one is much easier to say he probably did, as his presence may have made the defender a bit more edgy, more nervous, maybe more rushed with their movement, more rushed with their decision making and all combined " made for an error with his pass, which could be considered the 'impact'.

I might have given some benefit of doubt to the attacker on the 'close' and the 'attempting to play the ball (in a way similar to how Ref Grove suggested there was something about the phase that might have seen the call go the other way) however once the 'impact' came in to the mix. Then it is flag up for sure.

BTW, good to see the ref hand out some cards for simulation. Possibly could have been a forth, but good to see some firm action on it. Hope it helps to reduce the plague that it is.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
In a match situation and at speed this may look like offside to the AR. Depth perception from a side on view can be difficult to determine.
In addition the PIOP comes in front of the defender which perhaps influences how the defender played the ball. If one looks at it from an *impact* on the defender it is clear that the defender allows the ball to go to his right away from the PIOP and at a moment of the header was the PIOP in the line of sight to the ball?
I think the controversy in the game was around the fact that it looked like the offence was called for the play of the ball by the defender. That was cleared up when it was shown that there was an offside position from the first header not the subsequent play
It would have been interesting on a VAR review if the referee would have viewed the PIOPs actions as interfering with an opponent. It could IMO be called either way as it is opinion based

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
It's always interesting having these kinds of discussions. I'd like to just clarify one point though - when it comes to making 'an impact' on the opponent, the IFAB specifically stated in its circular 3 which introduced the phrase, ''clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent'' that the 'impact' only ''applies to an opponent's ability (or potential) to play the ball and will include situations where an opponent's movement to play the ball is delayed, hindered or prevented by the offside player.''

Based on this language, I think it it's evident that the 'impact' cannot be something that just makes the defender nervous or affects their decision-making. It must be something that physically affects their ability to play (or their possibility of playing) the ball such as actually having an effect on their physical movement towards the ball. If only the opponent's state of mind or thinking is affected, this is not enough, according to the IFAB circular, for an offside offence.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
as I try to frequently point out a referee is not to award an offside for what a defender thinks only for what the opponent attacker as the PIOP actually does. The PIOP is restricted from affecting play! What is unclear to many is why do we allow a PIOP to ATTEMPT to affect play? We know by running towards the ball or towards a opponent that the PIOP is deliberately TRYING to affect the game! The LOTG have tried to guide us on the circumstances where as YODA says NOT TRY. DO! In this case the DO is actually offside INDFK out. Although we discount what a defender thinks as a reasoning for offside that is not to say his choice of actions are not dictated by his awareness to a challenging player. It is why for example a player will shield the ball or attempt to clear a ball in haste unaware of the fact the opponent challenging is in fact a PIOP. It is why words like clearly close & impact are used to ensure we grasp it is the PIOP actions we are judging not what anyone is thinking.

In the original decision where I stated this was the only option to claim, if there was no offside awarded, the same claim exists, except in the AR opinion the defender made a mistake.

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