I am a new referee and have a question about Position Paper “Law 11: Offside Interfering with Play and Interfering with an Opponent,” dated August 24th, 2006.

I understand the main point of the paper, but then don’t understand how the goal cannot be disallowed in the specific example in the video clip and paper. The explanation in the paper says the Romario “is in an obvious offside position” and later has the ball played to him to score a goal. I thought the law was once in an offside position, a player continues to be considered offside until a change of possession. What is the intervening action that canceled his ‘original’ offside position?

The paragraph from the paper is below.

In the attached USL clip, Miami player Romario is in an obvious offside position when the ball is last touched by his teammate, Gil, and Gil then plays the ball forward almost directly toward Romario. However, Romario neither touches nor makes any play for the ball. Furthermore, there is no opponent close enough to be reasonably obstructed or impeded in any way nor does Romario make any gesture or movement which could reasonably be considered deceptive or distracting. Gil proceeds to run forward, takes control of his own pass, moves farther downfield from Romario, and then passes the ballback to Romario who ultimately scores a goal. The goal was valid and, in particular, there was no offside offense during any part of this sequence of play.

USSF answer (November 15, 2007):
You may have omitted an essential part of the offside equation while considering this problem. Under many circumstances any player may be in an offside position when his or her teammate plays the ball without fear of being punished for offside. In fact, a player could spend most of the game there without being punished in such a case — unless he or she completes the equation by becoming involved in play. Becoming involved by interfering with play or with an opponent is the point of the entire position paper.

For more up-to-date information, see the two position papers issued on October 16, 2007, “Offside Issues,” and October 17, 2007, “Offside Myths.”

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