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Question Number: 33531

Law 11 - Offside 7/20/2019

RE: meh Adult

Dave Mirren of Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia asks...

An attacker is standing in an offside position just beyond the halfway line.

A teammate plays a through ball, which the attacker chases, and touches near the opposing goalline.

Is the free kick awarded near halfway where the attacker was standing, or near the goalline where s/he touched it?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dave
The indirect free kick is taken from where the offside offence occurs which is where the player in an offside position touches the ball or interferes with an opponent.
In this case the IDFK is taken from near the opponents goal line where the player touched the ball. IFAB set out in law br> Now there is one exception to this in Law 11. A player in an offside position may be penalised before playing or touching the ball, if, in the opinion of the referee, no other team-mate in an onside position has the opportunity to play the ball.
So in your example if there was no onside positioned player running after the ball as well and the only real possibility was the offside positioned player touching the ball rather than say the ball going out for a goal kick or throw in or being cleared by an opponent then the flag can go up early for the offence. In that case the IDFK is generally taken from the location of the raised flag.
As an aside this change to the Law is not fully recognised and many players use Law 11 the way it was before the change which was to take the IDFK from the position of the player rather than where he got involved in active play.
IFAB the law makers wanted to bring consistency to the Laws by having the restart taken from the location of the offence rather than the position of the player. In many instances there can be little difference in locations while in some it can be considerable. To further confirm this position the IDFK can be taken in the other half if the offside positioned player comes back into his own half to play the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dave,
Law 11 says that:

''If an offside offence occurs, the referee awards an indirect free kick where the offence occurred''

As we know, it's not an offences to be in an offside position, nor is it an offence to run after the ball so what this means, is that the IFK is awarded where the player committed the offence by becoming involved in active play. In this case, that would be where they touched the ball.

However, please note the caveat quoted by ref McHugh. If there is no other teammate involved in the scenario, who is coming from an onside position and also heading towards the ball with a chance of playing it, the flag would (and should) normally go up much earlier. The IFK would then normally be taken from where the player was when the flag was raised.

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

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