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Question Number: 33236

Law 11 - Offside 4/11/2019

RE: Under 14

paul of albuquerque, nm usa asks...

attacker A goes to kick the ball, defender B comes in and both kick the ball at the same time.. ball goes through the air to a player C who was in an offside position when the ball was kicked.

is this offside or not? if attacker and defender play the ball at the same time is that considered the defender intentionally playing the ball (so offside resets), or just a deflection (so offside doesnt reset)?

what about if attacker A gets there a split second sooner, kicks it, and it goes off defender B's shin and to offisde position attacker C?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Paul ,
Simultaneous challenges I tend to think rebounds not resets. so most likely the redirect of the ball is a deflection more than a deliberate kick reset and if not, you simply pick the one who YOU feel last touched the ball and if it WAS the A attacker then his C team mate is offside.
If it was the B defender and he CLEARLY deliberately kicked the ball away from A then no offside!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
There was significant debate about a related incident in a recent Premier League game.
Sterling of Manchester City in the game against Watford was in a clear offside position by some two yards and he went to challenge a covering defender for the ball, played on to him by Aguero his City team mate. The defender clearly deliberately kicked the ball which immediately hit off Sterlings shin and went into the goal. It was ruled on the day by the referee that as the defender deliberately played the ball that it was a reset. Many have looked at the decision and clearly opined including the AR with the flag that Sterlings presence at the ball was sufficient for interfering with an opponent. In my opinion and that of many others was it should have been called offside.
Now in your example it is somewhat the same. Can the referee or AR say for certain that it is a deliberate kick by the defender only. If it comes off the attacker A last it is clearly offside when Attacker C plays the ball and if it comes off Defender B we may be looking at a rebound / deflection which is not a reset. If like the referee in the City incident who saw that the defender clearly play the ball only then no possible offside.
So for me when there is sufficient doubt that it is not a clear deliberate kick by Defender B ONLY then it should be called offside.
Have a look at this video
In this video Defender #21 deliberately plays the ball to the White PIOP which is not offside. Say there was a White attacker challenging #21 and both play the ball at the same time . Without any degree of certainty and perhaps doubt on simultaneous touches / rebounds etc then I suggest it is more likely to be offside.
Easy on paper to make a decision. At match speed and distance I would say very difficult to call and when there is every chance it is last played / touched by an attacker then offside is the only decision and probably one that is expected. In the Sterling incident there was sufficient doubt for the offside to be called.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

This is obviously a tricky decision but just as when two players challenge for the ball and it goes out of play, the referee has the responsibility and the duty to make a decision one way or the other. As the old saying goes, ''This is why they pay us the big bucks.''

Again, it is not really possible to make a decision here 'sight unseen' - it is up to the referee who actually has seen the incident, to make a judgement call. Usually, even if two players go for the ball together, it still comes off one of them last. If the referee opines that it came off the attacker last (and assuming attacker C then becomes involved in active play) the offside offence should obviously be given. If the referee feels that despite the challenge, the defender has deliberately played the ball directly to the opponent, the offside need not be given but if the referee judges that the play by the attacker has caused the ball to rebound or deflect from the defender, that would again allow for an offside offence to be given if active involvement by a team mate subsequently occurs.

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

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