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Question Number: 32218

Law 11 - Offside 2/7/2018

RE: Adult

Mike Lott of Liverpool, England asks...

Since asking the question I have found the following which seems to be showing a number of video examples of what should and shouldn't be calssed as offside.

The first example shown here:

Looks to me exactly like Lovren's action. Can anyone explain the difference?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Interesting that you picked out this video. Since the example was published there has been debate about whether it was a deliberate play or a deflection. Some associations in trying to assist in determining the difference have come out with guidelines.
Here is a site that has UEFAs advice.
As you can see this is very subjective and it depends very much on opinion. I think one of the key differences is that the ball is somewhat less expected than the Lovren one with a Blue player in the line of sight of the ball until the last moment. The play is more rushed because of the unexpected nature of the ball.
Also if you look at the Lovren one the player is more balanced and he is in a kicking position when he makes contact with the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mike, even across the 7 continents there is some dissention as to what constitutes a deliberate play from an instinctive reaction. The ONLY true distinction I see between a mistake that gets misplayed and a deflection is NOT the way in which the ball seemingly rebounds through or trickles by but in the awareness & amount of time and space a defender has to make a decision. In other words ITOOTR how much thought is exerted by the deliberate actions undertaken to control the ball? Keep in mind UNLESS We are SURE 'When in doubt do NOT wave it about! we keep the flag down offside is taught as a certainty. much like a deliberate handling.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
People can try to explain it but if they do so, it is pretty much only their opinion since unfortunately, the Laws of the Game are of no help in this regard.

They simply state quite baldly that while a player who receives the ball from a deliberate play by an opponent is not considered to have gained an advantage, a player who plays a ball that has rebounded or deflected off an opponent can still be liable for an offside offence - but give absolutely no guidance in how to judge the difference between a deliberate play, a rebound or a deflection.

Given the lack of guidance in the laws and absent any additional help on interpretation of this from the IFAB, I'm afraid we are left pretty much on our own.

As ref McHugh mentions, various other bodies such as UEFA have issued some guidelines but UEFA for instance, does not have world-wide authority for laws interpretations so even if European referees use these guidelines, referees in other areas would not have to do so.

Personally, I would like to see some guidance from the IFAB on this, which would be applicable world-wide but as far as I know, they have not issued anything as yet.

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Offside Question?

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

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