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Question Number: 32106

Law 11 - Offside 12/17/2017

RE: Competitive Under 14

Eugene of San Jose, CALIFORNIA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32080

If a defender is temporarily off the field of play behind the goal line, and the play goes the other way, resetting the offside, does the player have an implicit permission to re-enter?

How should the AR line up in this case? Would he have to line up with the second to last defender not counting the off-the-field player, and then sprint back whenever the player re-enters?

Would it make sense for the off-the-field player to run around the pitch and enter closer to the half so as not to move back the offside line?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Eugene
During play a player off the field of play for whatever reason with the referees permission must rejoin on the touchline. He cannot do so from the goal line. If momentum has brought the player off the FOP as part of play there is no issue about coming back on. Indeed the player must rejoin without delay and permission does not arise.
After an injury though or some other reason there is no implicit permission to re-enter and the referee must give permission. He can delegate that to an AR and the reentering player should be told to seek permission from the AR or 4th official if there is one. As the player has to ask the AR there is every chance that he must come close to the AR to do so.
Also if it is blood injury play must be stopped for the re-entry to happen as the wound / bleeding needs to be checked.
Once the player re-enters the AR must adjust accordingly. It is never a good idea to allow a player to re-enter that is going to have him interfere with play such as getting involved in a challenge or for that matter playing everyone onside. It should be done in a way that gets the player on the FOP yet not in a way that the AR has to adjust significantly to judge offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Given that you're talking under-age, I'm thinking you mean a player who stepped across the goal line in the course of play. For example, her momentum after attempting to get to the ball carried her over the line. In that case, the player is considered to be on the line for purposes of offside. She may reenter the field at any time, because she's still considered to be a player on the field. If the opponents have taken control of the ball, there are no offside considerations, no more so than if she had stopped on the goal line. If her team still has the ball, then she might be liable for offside, depending on the usual factors - position of the opponents at the time of the last touch by a teammate and getting involved in play.

It is unlikely in youth play that we truly see a player temporarily off the field of play with the permission of the referee. Usually that player is replaced by a sub, because youth play has unlimited number of substitutions with right of reentry. There may be that rare case when a player pulls up with a cramp or something - not serious enough for the referee to stop play, but the player wants to work on the hurt. In this situation the referee could give the player permission to go off the field, so perhaps a trainer or coach could help her to stretch out the cramp. In that rare case in youth play, the answer of my colleague Ref McHugh applies.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Eugene,
If a player has left the field as part of a natural playing movement and returns within a reasonable time frame (more or less immediately and without unnecessary lingering) then they do not require explicit permission from the referee to re-enter so yes, they have implicit permission. In this situation the AR would not be involved in any unusual sprinting back and forth (just the normal amount).

As ref McHugh points out, if the defender remains off the field for an extended period of time then they need the referee's permission to return and must do so from the touchline. If done properly as he outlines there should again, be no effect on the AR's positioning.

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