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Question Number: 33297

Law 11 - Offside 5/1/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33291

Joe McHugh says, 'clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent.'

I have asked before if a PIOP 'dummying' a play on a ball would constitute offside. The answer was 'No,' if the ball was not played (touched).

As a defender, I can see myself being momentarily fooled by this move - which could leave me a step or two late in reacting to the intended (onside) pass receiver.

Has offside advice changed in the meantime? Joe's quote seems to say so.

(I'm still on record as wanting offside gone, or at least altered in a major way. As a single-official, it's very hard to get the close calls right, for one...)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
offside like deliberate handling does twist us in knots at times when it comes to the finesse aspects. A dummy maybe no different then a PIOP trying to get to a ball that he is UNAWARE he can not play! BECAUSE as long as he DOES NOT Touch that ball nothing changes. A PIOP can duck out of the way of a ball KNOWING if he did touch it it WOULD be an INDFK out! WHAT a PIOP CAN NOT do though while doing any of this is NOT interfere with an opponent as he is doing it. The INVOLVEMENT is not from trying to get involved it is from actual interference with an opponent or a actual touch of the ball to interfere with play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
The wording you refer to (which is taken directly from the laws) does not really alter the interpretation of a 'dummy.' There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, a player who dummies the ball has not attempted to play it - they have actually deliberately (and successfully) attempted to not play the ball.

Secondly, the action has to clearly (and directly) hinder the opponent's ability to play the ball. This I think, would depend (as it so often does) on the exact circumstances. In many cases the dummy is performed with the defender some distance away and so any effect on the opponent will be minimal or non-existent. Now, if the attacker is in extremely close proximity to a defender when the dummy occurs, there might be a case for it directly impacting on the opponent's capability to play or attempt to play the ball - in some ways this could even be interpreted as being more in the nature of challenging an opponent for the ball.

However in most cases, I would venture to suggest that the dummy does not materially impact on the opponent's ability to actually play the ball and so does not meet the criteria for interfering with an opponent as per the IFAB's current wording, guidelines and interpretations.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
It is up to the referee to consider whether the action meets one of the four *interfering with an opponent* conditions.
So for me dummying on its own does not interfere with play and it could in very unique certain circumstances be considered interfering with an opponent.
I could envisage a couple of unique situations where a PIOP gets in front of a defender after a ball is played and his dummy prevents the defender from seeing the ball or that the defenders attempt to play the ball was stopped by the body position of the PIOP at the moment of the dummy. Those will be seen clearly as interfering with an opponent.
It is more likely that a PIOP avoids the ball beyond or away from the defenders so stepping over the ball away from opponents would not be interfering with an opponent.
We have all seen players in an offside position raise their hands to show that they are not interfering even when the ball is close to them with probably appeals for offside. Letting the ball move past them untouched in whatever fashion, be it a step over, swerve is not offside.

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See Question: 33303

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Offside Question?

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

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