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Question Number: 3313

Law 11 - Offside

RE: Under 10

Steve of Takoma, MD asks...

LAW 11 - Offsides, Situation: the first attacker (rt wing) was ahead of the ball and ahead of the next to last defender, the left wing just dribbled past the next to last attacker, with the rt wing still ahead of the ball but on opposite side of field. At that moment I went to call offsides, however by the time I actually whistled the player turned to return himself to onsides. I continued with the offsides call, but I'm wondering if I should have looked for a clearer intention of the attackers to benefit from the offsides (i.e. waiting a few seconds more to make sure). I'm new to referee'g having only coached a few seasons U9. Did I make a clean call? Thank You for the feedback.

Answer provided by Referee Stacy Kalstrom

HI Steve,..Welcome to the wonderful world of refereeing. Good for you as a new referee to ask about situations that you encounter. This is an excellent way to learn. It's alot easier to answer questions on a test than it is to actually go out there and make the calls...With regard to your question, as I understand it, there was no reason to call offside. In order for a player to be called offside, he must, be in his attacking half of the field, at the moment his team mate has played the ball, become actively involved in the play or interfere with play, and be ahead of both the ball and the second to last defender...From your scenario it seems that the player was in his attacking (rt. wing) and he was ahead of the ball and the second to last defender, but he didn't particiapte (become actively involved in play) nor did he interfere with play. If the left wing had passed the ball to his teammate (rt. wing) and at the moment the ball was passed, he (rt. wing) was ahead of both the ball and the second to last defender, and he received the pass ( or interefered with an opponents ability to get the ball, then you would be correct in calling the player offside. The restart for the other team would be an indirect freekick at the point where the player was first deemed offside...Offside is tricky. I suggest that you read Law 11 every day or two to really digest the information. I also encourage you to read about it in USSF's ATROTLOTG (Advice to referees on the laws of the Game) as well as viewing USSF's video "myths of the Game" Both are highly educational and worth your time and the small sum they are to purchase. See if your local referee association has a copy...Good luck and enjoy your games. Come visit us again.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Hi Steve and welcome aboard!! I too took up refereeing after coaching and it's a different game from our perspective..Your scenario is a classic example of a player in offside position only and NOT actively involved in play. Remember, a player has to not only be in offside position (which the above player was) but he has to be actively involved in play by either interfering with play,interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position. None of these apply, so no offside infraction..This is a common mistake former coaches make. They are constantly telling their players to stay out of offside position, and they forget what the Law actually is..Keep trying and keep asking questions here and at other sites. Most of all, continue doing games and have fun.

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Offside Question?

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

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