Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 9803

Law 11 - Offside

RE: All Other

Joe of , Maryland USA asks...

Attacker A2 is in an offside position. Attacker A1 plays the ball forward; it deflects off B1 and goes to A2. The deflection off the defender is not considered as *playing the ball*. So, A2 is in an offside position at the time the ball is played to him by A1. Offside offense; easy call...My question is for a reverse situation. A2 is again in an offside position, but defender B2 has clear posession of the ball in his own end of the field. B2 makes a lateral pass across the pitch to a teammate. A1 attemps to intercept, but fails to control it and merely deflects the ball slightly, whereupon it goes to teammate A2 in an offside position...While in the first case, the deflection by the defender does NOT count as playing the ball, would the deflection off the attacker in the second case be cause for an offside whistle? That is, do you consider an incidental deflection as *playing the ball* differently for attackers & defenders where offside is concerned?..Tx,.Joe

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Joe: You must read Law 11 again. It states therein: A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or played by one of his own team,? right? We must also understand that ?touches- has the same meaning as made contact with. ..Given those criteria can you now answer? ..When judgment of offside position is necessary, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his OWN team ask these questions: ..1. Is the player in the attacking half of the field?.2. Is the player nearer the goal line than the ball?.3. Is the player nearer the goal line than the last but one opponent or the last two opponents?..If all are answered yes GOTO next paragraph ELSE IF any question is answered no, the player is not in an offside position and can participate in play until the next touch by a member of his team. At that point GOTO question 1. ..The player is in an offside position, ask two more questions: ..a. Is the player interfering with play or an opponent?.b. Is the player gaining an advantage?..If either of these is true or becomes true before the next touch by one of his OWN side then the assistant flags for offside and the referee blows for the infraction and awards an indirect free kick, to be taken from where the attacker was at the moment the ball was touched or played by a member of his own team...Remember that it is not contrary to the Law to be in an offside position. After the ball is played a footballer may run into an offside position and play it without penalty. When a player is in an offside position and the ball is touched or played by a colleague that player may not get involved, without penalty, even if the ball bounces off an opponent or an opponent misplays it. ..Regards,

Read other questions answered by Referee Chuck Fleischer

View Referee Chuck Fleischer profile

Answer provided by Referee Victor Matheson

The short answer to your question is: we treat "touching" and "playing" differently for attackers and defenders. An attacker is offside even if the ball deflects off a defender, but is not offside if the defender controls the ball and plays it to the attacker. On the other hand, the attacker is offside if his teammate either intentionally plays him the ball or if the ball deflects off his teammate to the offside player.

Read other questions answered by Referee Victor Matheson

View Referee Victor Matheson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 9803
Read other Q & A regarding Law 11 - Offside

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.