Attacker A3 makes a high arcing pass forward towards teammate A10, who is even with the second to the last defender. After the ball is kicked, A10 rushes forward into the penalty area unmarked, ahead of all other defenders save the goalkeeper.
The ball falls several feet short of A10. The second to the last defender, another defender and attacker A7 are now all camped under the ball. The ball deflects ever so slightly off one of the three players to A10, who shoots and puts the ball in the back of the net.
What is the restart in these two scenarios?
1) The ball was deflected off the head of one of the two defenders?
2) The ball was deflected off the head of A7?
You are the assistant referee in this case. It is virtually impossible to see who was responsible for the deflection as the play is on the far side of the field and the three players camped under the ball are more or less one behind each other in your line of sight. Do you raise your flag? Or keep it down … and shoot a quizzical look at the center referee?
USSF answer (October 15, 2008):
Easy answer here: If you are the assistant referee on the far side of the field, you are likely too far away to see clearly what has happened. The referee should be nearer to the event than you are and should have the better view. If the referee cannot see it better than you, then the other AR should be able to. That is why we have three sets of eyes watching the game.
If you CAN see the facts clearly and neither of your colleagues is in a position to do so, then the answer to 1) is no offside, as the ball was last played by or touched or made contact with an opponent. In 2) the answer is offside.