Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32988

Law 11 - Offside 1/15/2019

RE: Adult

Melvin H. of Colorado Springs, Colorado U. S. A. asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32953

Picking up on the point made regarding pressing and Law 11: Could there be an adjustment to the Law, in which if the ball passes a line on the field and is going towards goal, there's no offside until the ball comes back outside that line--for example, either the top of the 18-yard penalty area or the center line, if you don't want more lines on the field? I'm thinking similar to the old NASL's 35-yard line (35 yards out from the goal in each half).

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Melvin,

So you're thinking, disallow offside in, say, the attacking third?

Personally I'd rather not - it would add an extra judgement for the referee; the referee would then need to have to judge where the ball is being kicked from (and imagine a kick very close to this line - it could get difficult). Personally I think it would complicate matters.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Melvin
Yes that could be a possibility.
In the Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur game Harry Kane had a goal disallowed as he was a couple of feet ahead of the ball on a 5 / 6 yard pass inside the goal area. Is that really the purpose of Offside Law 11?
Yes it was offside as we know it yet for me it disallowed a goal in a game that only had one goal only a technicality that has nothing to do with the original import of offside.
I am of the view that the modern game does not need offside or if it does it should be limited.
At the moment the half way line is set as where offside applies from . The penalty area line could be extended so that offside does not apply inside that area once the ball is played in that area in which case the Kane goal would have stood.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Melvin,
Down the years, the IFAB has authorised a number of experiments into variations on the offside law along the lines that you mention. It would seem that none of the experiments proved successful, did not deliver the kind of improvements in terms of attacking play or goals scored that those proposing the experiments had hoped and so were abandoned.

For instance, the NASL 35-yard offside experiment you mention did not improve matters, according to various players who had direct experience of it. It did not make any noticeable difference according to the former Scottish international Charlie Cooke, while England player Bob McNab found that it was ''a great idea, but it did not work.'' He found that defenders would just drop back and mark strikers even more tightly because there was so little space to play balls behind them. Another English player Steve Earle thought that it hurt attackers, especially those with speed, as there was just too little space to exploit.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32988
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.