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Question Number: 32777

Law 11 - Offside 10/5/2018

RE: Under 14

Dr Yott of Preston, UK asks...

Offside again :)

Defense push forward in a line with the ball leaving Attacker1 on edge on penalty spot in an offside position.

Attacker2 tackles, wins ball, dribbles forward to goal line / corner (ball now ahead of Attacker1) and passes the ball across to him to score.

Obviously the cross isn't an offside offence. But was Attacker1 'gaining an advantage' in his offside position when Attacker 2 first 'touched' the ball when he gained possession? Law 13 doesn't need a pass/play - only a 'touch'.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Two different phases of play.
When Attacker 2 won the ball he began a new phase of play. As he moved forward he then put Attacker 1 in an onside position so that when ball was played by Attacker 2 there was no offside offence.
Also please do not confuse gaining an advantage by being in an offside position in the literal sense of benefiting. The player may have started out in a favourable position yet he did nothing to interfere with play or an opponent . It is not an offence to be in an offside position.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dr Yott,
offside is a two part equation that is reset every time a team mate touches the ball or the opposition regains possession. What you are not comprehending is a NEW phase of play begins at every touch unless it is deliberate save or a rebound or deflection of the ball off an opponent. This applies to the gaining an advantage that you were talking about. An PIOP attacker can not benefit from any of those 3 conditions. This is NOT the same as applying advantage by ignoring a foul

You see when the attacker team mate #2 touches the ball the offside is RESET for attacker 1 who while behind the 2nd last opponent & thus nearer the goal line is behind the ball which is nearer to the goal line when #2 plays it over. It matters not if the ball is passed ahead to run onto or backwards, the FACT was attacker #1 was not offside positioned at the time of that #2attacker's touch. We do not hold #1 accountable for his earlier position when the defenders ran forward to nullify his participation as it is a NEW phase of play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dr Yott,
Although not explicitly stated as such, when assessing offside it's only the last touch by a team mate before the offside-positioned player (OPP) becomes involved in active play that counts, not any previous touches.

While we do consider the potential of an offside offence for a player in an offside position on every touch by a team mate, while a team mate is simply dribbling the ball and does not release it there is almost no chance of an offside offence. This is because, to be guilty of an offside offence the OPP has to either touch the ball themselves or interfere with an opponent in a way that prevents the opponent from playing the ball - which is all but impossible if the ball is in the possession of a team mate in a physically different location on the pitch.

A scenario very similar to the one you describe is also covered in the Laws of the Game, on page 209 of the 2018-19 edition, pdf version and which states as follows:

''An attacker (C) is in an offside position, not interfering with an opponent, when a team-mate (A) passes the ball to player (B1) in an onside position who runs towards the opponents' goal and passes the ball (B2) to team-mate (C).

Attacker (C) was in an onside position when the ball was passed, so cannot be penalised.''

Although not absolutely identical, the principle involved is the same - it's not where the player was at the time(s) of any previous touch(es) of the ball that matters, only where they were at the time of the last touch before they became active in play.

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Offside Question?

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

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