Entries related to Law 11 – Offside

OFFSIDE OR NOT OFFSIDE?

April 29, 2014

Question:
RE:SPAIN’S WINNING GOAL WAS _NOT_ OFFSIDE, June 20, 2012

I was the AR in a game yesterday with a similar situation to the game referenced above. The difference was that the player in the offside position broke toward the goal and ran ahead of the ball until he pulled up in front of the goal. When the ball was passed to him it had just brought him into an onside position. I raised the flag and and placed the kick where he was first offside. I got vehement protests from the sideline (as I was the bench side AR) and the debate raged on after the game, with experienced knowledgeable people. Was this the right decision or was he eligible to receive the ball as soon as it passed him? Note:this whole event took about 3 seconds.

Answer (April 29, 2014):
If the player had returned (or been returned by circumstances) to an onside position BEFORE his teammate played the ball to him and had not, as Navas had not, attracted any attention from his opponents or otherwise interfered with play or with an opponent, then he should not have called offside. Being in an offside position is NOT an infringement of the Laws, so the player should not be punished for something that occurred under the circumstances you describe.

For the benefit of others, I append here the answer of June 20, 2012:

Navas’s goal was legally scored. He was in an offside position when the ball was first passed to Iniesta, who started from an onside position. Navas was not called for offside at that moment because he was not actively involved in play in any of the three meanings defined by the International Football Association Board: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage from being in that position. Navas remained in that position to show his lack of involvement as Iniesta moved forward. Navas became onside as soon as Iniesta took possession of the ball and moved nearer to the goal. Iniesta then passed the ball to Navas. By the time Iniesta passed the ball to Navas the latter was no longer in an offside position — never having moved or interfered with play or with an opponent (no one even looked at him) — and could not be called offside because he was level with the ball at the pass.

I might add that the television commentators, generally the least knowledgable observers of soccer at any level of play, got it right this time and never said a word about any offside.

Categories: Law 11 - Offside

Question:
Unusual incident occurred in my game yesterday.
My team were awarded a penalty kick when my player was tripped inside
the box.
The ball was on the spot and all the players were ready when the
linesman flagged to get the referee’s attention.
The ref goes over to talk and the linesman explains that my player was
offside before being fouled.

The ref accepts this and reverses his decision and awards our
opponents a free kick.

However, the ref still gives the defender a red card for tripping my
player!!

everyone was confused and everyone started to laugh…
what on earth is the rule on this?

Answer (April 28, 2014):
If the trip was done with excessive force—the only reason I can think of—then the referee was correct to send off the defender, no matter that your player had already violated Law 11. Old referee aphorism: The Laws of the Game were not meant to compensate for the mistakes of the players.

CALLING OFFSIDE

March 22, 2014

Question:
Not to reopen a can of worms but I had one question with regard to an offsides infraction.

Strictly interpreting law 11, it seems possible that an attacking player can be in an offsides position on the opponents half of the field, and an offsides infraction can occur if he/she receives a pass (across the halfway line) from a teammate. I’ve never seen this penalty called and been told by several coaches that it is not a violation.

How should referees interpret this situation?

Answer (March 22, 2014):
Coaches are not the best source for information about offside or any other infringements of the Laws. Yes, a player who is in an offside position at the moment the ball is played by his/her teammate and then receives that ball is indeed considered to be offside. It makes no difference if the teammate who played the ball to the player in the offside position was in his/her own half or in the opponents’ half of the field. It also makes no difference if the player in the offside position returns from the offside position to his/her own half to receive the ball. It’s still offside. The indirect free kick is given at the place here the player was when the teammate played the ball.

DROPPED BALL AND OFFSIDE

March 3, 2013

Question:
I am an assistant instructor. My question is about offsides on a dropped ball. In law 11 it specifically states that a player should not be ruled offside if he receives a ball directly from a goal kick, a corner kick, or a throw-in. It does not mention a drop ball. In table 8.6 (Common elements of the eight methods of restarting play as found in the current edition of “Advice to Referees” the question can player who receives ball directly be declared offside and the answer is no. Why is drop ball not mentioned in Law 11 as one of the ways that a player would not be judged offside if he receives the ball directly from the dropped ball? Does it have to do with technically neither team has possession during a dropped ball? Thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Answer (March 3, 2013):
The dropped ball was included in that array of non-offside situations in Law 11 at one time, but was dropped in 1990. The reason given st that time by the English FA in proposing the item to the International Football Association Board: “The proposed new text eliminates the phrase concerning the ball being dropped by the referee. Since the Law was reworded some years ago this phrase has not been appropriate, as a player may only be considered in the context of an off-side offence if the ball was touched or played by one of his team.”

Categories: Law 11 - Offside

Question:
In the recent Boxing Day match between Newcastle United and Manchester United, a controversial goal was awarded in the 28th minute.

[The questioner included a load of detail of items from Law 11, the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, and the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.”

The bottom line is that the ATRs *appear* to offer guidance that is either not backed up by IFAB or FIFA guidance, or the rest of the world is unaware of said guidance.

Any clarification you can provide would be helpful.

Answer (December 28, 2012):
This is a very close call. From the available evidence (two photos and a video clip), it is impossible to decide one way or another. In such cases, we cannot do any better than to rely on the long-time guidance from the IFAB, FIFA, and the U. S. Soccer Federation: The referee must be completely sure that an offense has occurred before calling it. If the referee does not recognize a possible infringement as such and call it (either by whistling for the offense or invoking the advantage clause or making no call at all on a trifling offense), then that offense has not occurred.

We are very concerned, however, with the comment that the Advice to Referees (ATR) appears to offer guidance which is not backed by anything official. Obviously, we disagree. The original question, which I have omitted here, breaks down the decision into its appropriate parts and comes down exactly where it should have: the core question (given the givens) is whether there was interference with an opponent, and THAT is solely a matter of judgment for which the IFAB’s own guidance is quite sufficient — blocking the path, blocking the vision, or acting to distract or deceive. The ATR does not say anything contrary to this. The citation from the ATR is merely a good, concrete example of what exactly is meant by “acting to distract or deceive”: If the actions of the attacker in an offside position “draw” or cause a defender to move in a way he would not likely have moved in the absence of the offside position attacker, that is interfering with an opponent. So it all comes down to the basic issue of determining whether any of the three elements of interfering with an opponent applied. Our opinion is that it is arguable either way. We see the possibility of the goalkeeper’s line of vision being blocked or at least hindered (given where the attacker was). We also see the possibility that the attacker in the offside position blocked a possible movement path by the defender. And there is also the possibility – though we have no information on what was happening in the second or two prior to the first still picture — that the attacker may have drawn the defender to be where he was at the moment the ball deflected off the defender’s knee. However, because these are all only possibilities, that does not negate the guidance from on high that the referee must be absolutely certain of the offense – any offense, not simply offside – before calling it.

Categories: Law 11 - Offside

Question: Sounds stupid but…

Me and my friends were having a debate in the pub about the offside rule. I was a neutral in this debate but would be interested to know what an official referee would do:

If a player is laying injured in an offside position while play is continuing, and a shot that was going in anyway is deflected off his leg or head unintentionally, is it offside? If the player wasn’t there and the shot was going in anyway, surely as the player had no intent the goal should stand?

Answer November 28, 2012):
But his presence DID have an effect on play — “deflected off his leg or head unintentionally” — means by definition that he interfered with play.

We need to remember that it is only a supposition that the shot was going to go in anyway. There is, unfortunately, no way of proving that, without the deflection, the keeper might or would have made the save. In all events, Law 11 does not require or even presume that the attacker in the offside position must INTENTIONALLY become involved in active play; he only needs to BE involved in active play. If he had been standing up in an offside position and a shot from a teammate had bounced off his back into the goal, wouldn’t this be offside position? Suppose the player on the ground were dead and the ball deflected off him into the goal — it’s still an offside violation (though, to be fair, we should probably have stopped play before all this due to the “serious injury”).

This was illustrated in the 2008-2009 Laws of the Game on p. 101, illustration 1 (last time it is shown, but the principle still applies): “An attacker in an offside position (A), not interfering with an opponent, touches the ball.” And the ruling on the same page says “The assistant referee must raise the flag when the player touches the ball.”

NOTE:
I have received a number of questions about the goal by Navas versus Croatia, all wanting to know why Navas was not called offside. The questions provide a variety of information that could be applied to the matter, but the answer is much simpler.

The questions (abridged where necessary):
Q1. the eventual goal scorer, in my view, clearly “gained an advantage from being in an offside position”; but I note the “interpretation” of the rules assigns a meaning to that phrase which may explain this not being offside. That said, the “interpretation” refers to a ball hitting the post and coming to the player who was in offside position which seems ridiculously narrow.

Q2. [The goal] was offside because he came from an offside position when Iniesta passed the ball to him. When I read the rule there is nothing written but there is a part said gaining adantage of being offside where FIFA states:

“Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means:
Playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or crossbar, having previously been in an offside position.
Playing a ball, that rebounds to him off an opponent, having previously been in an offside position.

This is for a rebound ball where states him PREVIOUSLY being in an offside position, Wouldnt be the same a pass for teammate to him (NAVAS) previously being in an offside position??

But after I investigated some more I found a FIFA sketch where if player B get the ball being onside he can pass the ball to player C behind his ball line even though playec C was passive and never change that position from the time player B got the ball to the time player B pass the ball to C offside when player B got the ball first time. So my question isnt this a contradiction on the previous explanation by fifa saying that a player being previously offiside can get a ball rebound or anything like it??

Q3. During the Euro 2012 game between Spain and Croatia, much controversy has been generated with the allegedly offside goal by Spain. Although Navas is not directly involved in play, he ends up being involved once Iniesta passes him the ball and all the defenders have stopped their pursuit, waiting for the offside call by the officials.

Is there a moment in which the initial offside is nullified whether by a touch by a defender, a back pass to a teammate, etc.?

[And the questioner points out this interesting article on propsals to update the Laws, including offside: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/fifa-to-look-at-changes-to-offside-rule-2375801.html#disqus_thread ]

Answer (June 20, 2012):
Navas’s goal was legally scored. He was in an offside position when the ball was first passed to Iniesta, who started from an onside position. Navas was not called for offside at that moment because he was not actively involved in play in any of the three meanings defined by the International Football Association Board: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage from being in that position. Navas remained in that position to show his lack of involvement as Iniesta moved forward. Navas became onside as soon as Iniesta took possession of the ball and moved nearer to the goal. Iniesta then passed the ball to Navas. By the time Iniesta passed the ball to Navas the latter was no longer in an offside position — never having moved or interfered with play or with an opponent (no one even looked at him) — and could not be called offside because he was level with the ball at the pass.

I might add that the television commentators, generally the least knowledgable observers of soccer at any level of play, got it right this time and never said a word about any offside.

Categories: Law 11 - Offside

Question:
Can you please expand on your April 4th answer? This has sparked a lot of discussion in the referee community on what constitutes control, or a mis-kick.

USSF answer (April 5, 2012):
Not sure why there should be any discussion at all. This matter is addressed in the entry-level referee training courses and there has been no change in policy or interpretation or guidelines: If the opponent who does not have the ball under control (i.e., clear possession and the ability to play the ball deliberately to a place to which he wishes it to go) misplays, misdirects, deflects or miskicks the ball, he has not affected the status of the player who was in the offside position when his teammate played the ball.

In any event, the decision is solely “in the opinion of the referee,” based on all the “facts and circumstances” of the event — all of which means that no formal, official, concrete definition is possible (or even desirable), only guidelines.

Question:
During the March 30, 2012, DC United vs. FC Dallas MLS match, there was a play late in the first half where Dallas player Perez (#9) scored after receiving the ball following a deflection/misplay by DC United defender Dudar (#19). At the time the ball was last played by Perez’s teammate Hernandez. who chested the ball forward, Perez was in a clear offside position. All of our training as well as the Advice to Referees states that in order for the offside situation to “reset” the defender must control and play the ball. A deflection, miskick, or misplay is not supposed to reset the offside situation. In this case the AR did not raise his flag for offside and the goal was allowed to stand.

USSF answer (April 4, 2012):
An official review of the situation at the highest levels confirms that the call should have been offside.

Question:
We were debriefing after a match and the following technical restart questions came up. As part of my U18M Premier Division pregame I instructed the AR’s to not call technical throw-in violations unless the attacking team gained an unfair advantage or was creating a match management problem; I specifically included stepping on the field as a potentially trifling technical violation. During the match I chose a goal kick when an offside player booted the ball over the goaline – after the AR raised his flag, but without my whistle.

1. We know from Advice for Referees on the LOTG that given a choice of IFK for offside infraction and a goal kick or throw-in, to choose the latter in deference to game flow. How about if the offside player kicks the ball over the goal or touch line? Does the obvious game interference take precedence and result in the IFK restart?
2. We know from Advice for Referees on the LOTG that the primary purpose of the throw in is to get the ball quickly in play, and, at competitive levels, technical throw in infractions should be considered trifling. Obviously if the thrower gains an unfair advantage or the infraction may result in a match management problem, the throw in infraction is not trifling and should be called. How about if the thrower has one or both feet completely on the field (no unfair advantage gained nor a match management problem)?

USSF answer (March 23, 2012):
The referee is permitted a certain amount of discretion in enforcing the Laws of the Game, taking into consideration just the sort of things you suggest: game flow, level of skill, effect on match management, etc. However, the referee’s judgments must not be perceived as setting aside the Laws in his or her discretionary acts.

1. Only the referee knows which choice better fits the situation in this particular game. This one clearly comes under the advantage concept as well as the “easier to explain” concept.

2. Infringements of Law 15 are usually trifling (and occasionally doubtful), with the exception at times of being in the wrong location. The infringement needs to be blatant and obvious before the referee calls a “bad” throw-in when it comes to feet. In youth play, even “U18 Premier Division,” the referee should be proactive in dealing with this by stopping the throw-in before it is taken and having the player do it right. Game flow is one thing, but flouting the Law is another. However, having one or both feet fully in the field of play – and well beyond the touchline — is usually more than a trifling infraction.

Question:
I am 58 years old, still play twice a week and have refereed and coached at all levels thru high school and never even considered this issue before this past weekend.

What is the intent of Law 11 specifically that there is no off sides on a goal kick?

The situation – Team A takes a goal kick and Team A player(s) are 10 yds closer to Team B’s goal prior to the kick than the last Team B defenders who are at midfield when the ball is kicked. If Law 11 is taken literally in this instance, that there is no off sides for Goal kicks, it seems contradictory to the other off sides criteria to allow the Team A player to be on side. I understand and agree completely with throw-ins and corner kicks.

Or is the intent that Team B players cannot be off sides when they are just outside the Team A penalty area when Team A goal keeper takes the goal kick and Team A defenders are closer to mid field than Team B player(s). Which makes sense since the Team B player(s) are no closer to the goal than the ball when it is put into play.

USSF answer (March 22, 2012):
The Laws of the Game are not made by FIFA, but by the IFAB (International Football Association Board), of which FIFA is a member.

The IFAB has long held that the game needs more scoring. Referees are encouraged to give every chance to the attacking team, particularly whenever there is any doubt. This rule applies to offside and to possible fouls and misconduct. Indeed, the IFAB so much wants the attacking game to be encouraged that it has excluded players from being called offside DIRECTLY from a goal kick for over 130 years. Goal kicks became exempt from offside in 1866 – long before FIFA existed. The intent was possibly to keep the defending team honest. Who are we to argue?

XI

February 22, 2012

Question:
Did I miss something?

Memory serves that an attacker used to be in an offside position, in part, if he was in his opponents’ half of the field. Now, it seems, that attacker is given a yard +/- because he is not offside if he is in his own half of the field. So, ignoring the opponents, if an attacker has a foot on the half-way line, marking both halves, is he not in an offside position?

USSF answer (February 22, 2012):
An area of the field is demarcated by lines. The lines belong to the area they define. The halfway line belongs to BOTH halves. Foot position (or body position, for that matter) at the kick-off is treated similarly to the foot position for a throw-in: The foot may be on or behind or hanging over the line. For offside, the only thing that matters is where the parts that can legally play the ball are. However, in all cases, the offense, if any, is TRIFLING. Therefore, a player with his foot on the halfway line can be said to be in his own half of the field of play, no matter that some parts of his body may be across the line in the opponents’ territory.

For pure territorial purposes, yes, a player whose farthermost advance is a foot on the midfield line is indeed still in his own half of the field; however, the “formula” for determining if an attacker is “past” the second-last defender (past = any part of the body that can legally play the ball is closer to the goal line than the second to last defender) would apply as well to determining if an attacker was past the ball or past the midfield line. In other words, if any part of the body that can legally play the ball is across the midfield line, then the attacker is indeed in the opposing team’s half of the field — for purposes of determining offside position.