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Question Number: 33303

Law 11 - Offside 5/3/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33297

Sorry to bang on about the 'dummy' play and offside.

We know that a player can no longer feint on his PK kick, once he has run up to the ball. The purpose of the feint is/was to get the goalie to move, thus making it easier to score.

So: how about a PIOP who makes a clear attempt to kick or head the ball - but misses? It may be an intended attempt, or a clever feint - but to me, it satisfies the wording: 'clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent.'

Is it no problem, unless the referee believes defenders were affected by the near miss?

I know every case is unique.

Thanks again for your advice.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
A few seasons ago there was an offside scenario in a Liverpool game where a PIOP went to play the ball, missed it and it then went to a team mate Benteke that came from an onside position to score. The goal was awarded and it did cause a furore.
The play was reviewed after the game by the PL Referee body and it was deemed that the actions of the PIOP had in fact interfered with an opponent in that case the goalkeeper so the goal should not have been allowed.
It is covered under the condition ** clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent**
Now what we said in the previous answers was that if the dummy interferes with an opponent then offside should be called. If the *dummy* is a disguised attempt to play the ball which impacts on an opponent then it is offside. If the *dummy* gets in the way of an attempt by an opponent to play the ball that is also interfering
What we did say was that a PIOP who avoids the ball in whatever fashion in isolation is not interfering with play or an opponent and to quote the advice ** situations where there is no opposition player near, he should not be penalised**
If all he is doing is avoiding the ball with no possibility of interfering then that is not offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry ,
the thing is by beating an issue to its bare bones you can finally understand it.
We are ALL in agreement that if there is INTERFERENCE with an opponent by a PIOP it IS an INDFK offence.
We can consider, is a dummy a form of interference?
It CAN NOT be an interference with play as the ball MUST be touched but COULD it under certain cases, be sufficient INVOLVEMENT to interfere with an opponent?
We have all agreed that under very LIMITED circumstances it MIGHT be, in the opinion of the official to fulfill the blocking or challenging aspect whereby an opponent is disadvantaged in not being able to get to or see said ball due to what the PIOP is doing and being so close & in such a position as to pose a CLEAR obstacle to the defender's ability to get to the ball . Remember what the defender THINKS is irrelevant. The choice to mark is NOT relevant. The choice to chase is not relevant. The choice to watch and wait is not relevant.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
I think to understand this, we have to look at the entirety of the advice issued by the IFAB in this regard.

For instance, in trying to parse the meaning of 'clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent,' we have to take into account that when it talks about impacting on an opponent, this means, in the IFAB's own words, that it 'impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.'

Also, in the 'Additional Guidance to Law 11' issued in July 2015, they state that:

'where a player tries to play the ball [...] in situations where there is no opposition player near, he should not be penalised'

So although, as I said in my previous response, I don't consider a dummy to be an attempt to play the ball (it's actually pretty much the opposite) even if you do think it's an attempt to play the ball, unless it is done in relatively close proximity to an opponent, and in such a way that it more or less physically impinges upon the opponent's ability to play the ball, my reading of their words is that the IFAB does not consider this to be an offside offence.

So I think it's pretty much right to say that it is (to borrow your phraseology) 'no problem, unless the referee believes defenders were affected by the near miss' - and bearing in mind that what must be affected is the defender's actual ability to play the ball. Merely distracting the opponent or affecting their thinking is not enough to trigger an offside offence.

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

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