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Question Number: 33296

Law 11 - Offside 5/1/2019

Chris of Vancouver, Canada asks...

Thanks for your responses regarding any potential offside on Van de Beeks goal vs Tottenham with respect to Neres being in an offside position.

Many of us that use this site are already acquainted with the offside rules and the concept of how a player being in an offside position is different from being in violation of the offside rule, (as I like to explain it to others myself). So I appreciate how you understood my specific concern and focused your discussion on what you refer to as point 4 of the sub rule on law 11, which was really the essence of my query. Im usually the one trying to explain to others why a person in an offside position is not necessarily offside, but appreciate this further clarification and the reference to the IFAB bulletin, and have accordingly readjusted my own understanding.

I would like to point out one factual error in your analysis. Neres never actually does come onside. He is an offside position during both Van de Beeks dribbling and subsequent shot. So any discussion of a player in an offside position being put onside after the ball is advanced is not the question I was addressing, and changes nothing.

However, your comprehensive explanation renders this particular point moot as well, since, as you point out, Neres did not "interfere" in any way.

What confused me was that it is very rare at this level (Champions League semifinal) to see what was essentially a 2 on zero breakaway and have what appears to be a person in an egregiously offside position in terms of his position and proximity to the goalkeeper. But I now understand the full interpretation of that fourth point in Law 11, given your explanation.

Just for purposes of clarity on this rule, had Neres made a sudden move to the goal, or yelled "Here, Im open", or waved his arm to indicate this (all of the above constituting a concrete potential distraction to the goalkeeper Lloris), I take it these type of actions COULD constitute the type of interference contemplated by our point 4 under discussion, although the referee observing his actions would make the final determination based on degree etc.

Thanks again for your comprehensive answers.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Chris,
In the case of a player yelling or waving their arms, it would still be a question of the referee having to judge whether this has actually, truly hindered the opponent from playing or being able to play the ball. For yelling, if I thought this needed penalizing, I think I would be inclined to go with the offence of verbal distraction (assuming the keeper actually was distracted) rather than offside. If the player simply waved their arms, I rather doubt this would actually be enough (in most cases) to constitute an actual hindrance to the keeper playing the ball, at least if they are still some distance away and not blocking the keeper's line of sight.

Even if the player made a (sudden) move towards the ball that is still not necessarily sufficient to trigger the 'interfering with an opponent' clause. Simply distracting is not enough, the opponent's ability to play the ball still has to be directly affected. This is quite clear from various sources, including for instance, the offside diagrams given in the 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials' section towards the end of the laws document. On page 206, there is a diagram labelled 'Not Offside' with the following explanatory text:

''An attacker in an offside position (A) runs towards the ball but does not prevent the opponent from playing or being able to play the ball. (A) is not challenging an opponent (B) for the ball.''

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chris
Your point on Neres is well made. I was not able to review the video again properly at the time of posting the answer and you are indeed correct that Neres does not get onside at any point. I have amended my answer accordingly.
However had he managed to do so the point still stands that Van De Beeks began a new phase of play when he took possession of the ball so Neres could have participated in subsequent play if he had got back onside . Indeed as it stands Neres while much closer to goal in the subsequent play was more likely to interfere with Lloris in goal yet that was not even a consideration as the *old* offside situation had passed. Neres in his new position at the moment of the shot again does not meet any of the four conditions of interfering with an opponent in subsequent play.
On your final point it is up to the referee to decide if the PIOP meets one of the 4 conditions for interfering. The action would not meet the first three conditions so the 4th is the only possibility which one states * making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball*.
The view is that that positioning and distracting would not be enough to impact on the ability of an opponent to play the ball in this case the goalkeeper.
Is it enough in its own right to be an offence under Law 12. It would be once deemed to be unsporting behaviour and a caution. Shouting for a pass would not constitute USB nor interfering with an opponent in Law 11

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

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