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Question Number: 33467

Law 11 - Offside 6/21/2019

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


I have one simple question about 'offside line'.

Advice for referees says:'No part of the attacking player other than the arms may be nearer the opponents' goal line than the TORSO, HEAD OR LEGS of the SECOND-LAST DEFENDER.'

What if the second-last defender is a goalkeeper? The goalkeeper may also play with his HANDS. But only in his own penalty area. Therefore the goalkeeper's hands are not solved? Is he a common player in this case? :-)


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Rather than make an exception for the goalkeeper the IFAB has stated that the goalkeepers arms should also be excluded
**A player is in an offside position if:
any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents' half (excluding the halfway line) and
any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered. **
Also the Law only references opponents not defenders as the GK can be the second last opponent and may not even be a factor.
I watched the first USA goal yesterday and it was reviewed for a very tight offside. Had the GKs arm been considered it would have added a complexity to determine if the attacker was in an offside position. I suppose with VAR and with 3D modelling it is possible for the GK's arms to be considered yet the Laws are universal to all levels.
I believe that excluding VAR games that the ordinary grassroots AR has enough to be focusing on the body / leg than also considering GKs arms.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,

The law is our best guide here. It states:

''The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.''

Actually, the official reason now used by the IFAB for not considering the hands and arms is not because they can't be legally used to play the ball. When the 2016/17 laws added FAQ's, one of them for law 11 said:

''The hands or arms are not included when judging offside position; this is true for all players, including the goalkeepers. This view is supported by and helps assistant referees throughout the world as it is often difficult to identify the exact position of the hands and arms.''

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
it is a great observation and while the LOTG have currently decided not to include them due to it being to difficult to judge position with the VAR rulings being able to isolate with certainty perhaps they could consider it later but who at the recreational level can recreate VAR?????

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Offside Question?

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

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