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Question Number: 33295

Law 11 - Offside 5/1/2019

RE: Pro

Jacob Han of Kiev, Ukraine asks...

A little weird and theoretical question about offside: player A shoot to goal, while player B is in offside position, but a few meters away from the keeper so he is not involved in the game at the moment of the shoot.
The shoot of player A is too weak and the ball goes really slow. while the ball goes really slow towards the keeper, player B, who was in offside position at the moment of the shoot, starts to run towards the keeper, and when the ball finally arrives to the keeper area, player B interfere with the keeper, for example by hiding the sight of view of the keeper. Player B doesn't touch the ball, he just interfere the keeper (and as said, it happens a few seconds after the shoot itself).
Is player B making an offside offense in that situation?

As far as I see in the laws of the game, gaining an advantage means for lately cases of 'playing the ball', not for lately cases of interfering an opponent.

So what should be the decision? and why?

Thank you,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jacob
This is an offside offence for interfering with an opponent. It is not gaining an advantage by being in an offside position, The use of the term *gaining an advantage by being in an offside position* is unique to situations that involve saves, deflections and rebounds. It should not be confused by *benefitting* in a play situation..
The reason for offside in your example is that Player B is restricted from getting involved in active play by either interfering with play which is touching the ball or interfering with an opponent until a new phase of play begins either by the defending team gaining control of the ball or an onside team mate begins another phase of play. Law 11 makes no provision as to how long that could take which could be immediately or a few seconds later.
So as described Player B has interfered with an opponent in this case the goalkeeper. Being in an offside position is not an offence and Player B has not committed any offside offence until he interfered with the GK.
There are only four way that a PIOP can interfere with an opponent to be called offside and they are:
# preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or
# challenging an opponent for the ball or
# clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
# making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball
So Player B has met either condition 2 or 4 whichever you choose. If B gets close enough to challenge then that condition applies while he could be closing down an opponent in a way that impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball which is also offside.
However there could be an example where Player B does not get close to the goalkeeper until after the GK has gained unfettered control of the ball and the GK has started a new phase of play by dribbling the ball away or passing the ball to a team mate in which case play continues. The difficulty can be determining how much time does the GK get before the PIOP can challenge for the ball. That is a judgement call and based on whether the referee feels that the PIOPs actions are sufficiently delayed to have allowed a new phase of play to commence.
An extreme example could be a through ball which stops short of the goalkeeper and he moves out close to the ball but does not play the ball. He could stand there for a few seconds and say he was then closed down by a PIOP. Offside would be called once the PIOP interfered with play or with the GK through a challenge for the ball which could have taken perhaps a lengthy time to happen. In practice it does not happen yet that is what the law says

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jacob,
there are only two reasons to make an INDFK offside call on a restricted PIOP !

(1) the PIOP actually touches the ball on purpose OR accidentally interferes with play
(2)the PIOP CLEARLY interferes with an opponent

Gaining an advantage applies to the two reasons for the INDFK offence ONLY AFTER there HAS been a DELIBERATE save, a deflection or a rebound because the NEW touch of the ball by the opposition is NOT resetting the involvement restrictions that remains based on the attacking teams last touch of the ball.

Notice in the 2nd reason I used the word 'clearly'. It speaks to this misconception people have that, close by, or in the general area, means this. THAT is untrue . In your scenario the PIOP at the time of the shot is NOT a factor but as the ball traveled so did he. At some point if he ACTUALLY CLEARLY attempts to challenge for ball possession or prevents a challenge for that ball by the keeper that is interference of an opponent, his INVOLVEMENT is NOW a factor and an INDFK awarded. Your concept of WHEN involvement occurs is what is under review?

In matches you may have seen a PIOP in the goal mouth area but is clearly NOT interfering with an opponent and say dodged out the way of shot that was in fact a certain goal but the ball accidentally ticks their hip and or brushes their head on its way by. That touch will nullify that goal and an INDFK will be awarded because they have ACTIVELY interfered with PLAY.
Yet a PIOP can actively chase a ball, perhaps even into the goal but not quite be able to touch that ball, even swinging their leg to kick it but they miss it. They are CLEARLY trying to play that ball BUT because they DID NOT touch it they are NOT guilty of interfering with play

The next question is did the PIOP CLEARLY interfere with an opponent who was also trying get to that same ball? All the chasing the ball and swinging the leg did he block an opponent from challenging for possession, did he freeze the keeper by swinging the leg to redirect the ball right in front of him? You see the official adjudging the situation must see a CLEAR involvement that affects the opposition based on what the PIOP is doing, NOT what the opponent is thinking . We do not reward bad decisions or mistakes. A keeper choosing to mark a PIOP at the left post thinking to intercept a pass when a shot is coming in from the right post is a foolish keeper.

We do consider the safety aspect when a PIOP and a keeper are in one on one coming from opposite direction running towards a ball. We judge the speed of play and whether the keeper will have a clear shot at recovery or possession. If we can CLEARLY see the interference by the PIOP is likely to cause a collision we are going to stop play & award the INDFK out. Yet even if the PIOP pulls up and allows the keeper time to to get to that ball but the keeper simply allows the ball to roll to a dead stop WITHOUT deliberately playing the ball . The play is active but the PIOP is STILL restricted and if he gets impatient to force the keeper to play the ball and not use up time, decides to run in and challenge for the ball the referee would award an INDFK out as offside criteria are still in effect. If the keeper chose to pick the ball up up or play it so he could pick it up while the PIOP was far enough away to pose no interference we simply allow play to continue.


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jacob,
I wonder if perhaps you are working from an out of date version of the offside law. While at one time, law 11 used to say that the active involvement had to occur at the moment of the touch by a team mate (even though that was, in most scenarios, a logical impossibility) it no longer does.

The law is now worded as follows:

''A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play [...]''

This wording means that if the player becomes involved at any point after the touch occurs - until or unless the offside is 'reset' by a subsequent team mate's touch or a deliberate play (except a deliberate save) by an opponent - there is still an offside offence.

As ref McHugh says, there is no restriction on how long must elapse after the last touch by a team mate, before the player who was in an offside position, becomes involved in active play.

As also pointed out, this is not a case of 'gaining an advantage' as this requires a deflection or rebound; this is just a plain and straightforward case of 'interfering with an opponent.'

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