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Question Number: 33389

Law 11 - Offside 5/25/2019

RE: Rec. Adult

John of LOUISVILLE, CO USA asks...

In today's Spanish Cope del Rey final Lionel Messi scored Barcelona's only goal as Barca lost to Valencia 2-1.
Messi's goal appeared to be offside, but you be the judge. Here is how it happened:
Corner kick for Barca, its kicked and a Barca player heads the ball towards goal from outside the 6 yard box. Messit is not offside when the ball is headed. The ball is deflected by Valencia's goalie towards Messi who receives the ball all alone completely behind all Valencia's players (and appears to be offside) and he does score. The goal is counted by the officials and no offside is called although Valencia unsuccessfully does appeal for offside.
Was this goal allowed because when the ball was headed Messi was not offside? And it did not matter if he was offside when the ball was deflected to him by Valencia's goalie?
Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi John,
Thank you for your question.
There's only one question that matters here: Was Messi in an offside position when the ball was last touched or played by a teammate?
That is the moment when offside position is judged. It doesn't get judged off an opponent's deflection. So, if the answer to the above question is 'no', then nothing that happens after has an impact.

So, your reasoning towards the end of your question is correct.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
According to the law, unless a player is ''in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate,'' they cannot be adjudged guilty of an offside offence. As you say, Messi was not in an offside position when the ball was headed by his team mate. Therefore he cannot be guilty of an offside offence, no matter what happened in between.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
The defender, I think number 8 Arthur, was keeping Messi onside at the time of the header. The defender moved up TOO late so the keeper deflection found Messi who was ONSIDE an easy goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
You are spot on.
Messi was onside at the moment of the header by his team mate. It may have looked like he was in an offside position when Messi received the ball yet it is the last touch by a team mate that matters in determining offside position.
The touch by the goalkeeper would only have mattered had Messi been previously in an offside position as it would have still been called offside. A save does not reset offside.
So 100% correct decision by the officials.

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

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