RefSix

Offside - Interfering with Play

#1
Hi,

Sorry, if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find an answer. The following scenario, I see very often at the U16 levels, with different ability attackers.

Ball covers over the top. Attacker A is offside, Attacker B is onside. Both run for the ball, and Defenders chase both. The onside Attacker B gets to the ball first.

Offside?

Cheers
Chris
 

one

RefChat Addict
#3
So the attacker A (the offside one) has not interfered with play.

Now you have to decide if he has interfered with an opponent. If yes, blow for offside. If no, play on. This is interfering with an opponent:

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#4
Thanks for the quick replies. This is where I am struggling, as Attacker A (offside) has drawn, as nearest the goal, at least 1 Defender to intercept him. However, as the second Defender has tracked the onside Attacker B, do you penalise?
 

one

RefChat Addict
#5
Thanks for the quick replies. This is where I am struggling, as Attacker A (offside) has drawn, as nearest the goal, at least 1 Defender to intercept him. However, as the second Defender has tracked the onside Attacker B, do you penalise?
We are bound by laws on how to determine offside. What we think should be offside or not (outside the laws) should not impact the decision.

The laws do not count "drawing defenders" as interference with play or with an opponent. So it will not count as offside.

The general thought behind it is that it is the defender's choice to chase an offside player. It is not perfect reasoning but nonetheless it's outside of our control.
 
#6
@Harey I'm inferring that you are relatively new to reffing, so perhaps this will be helpful background to think about. Law 11 has been evolving over time. And almost every change has been to favor the attack and make it less likely players will be called for an offside offesne. Once upon a time it too 3 defenders to keep a player onside. When I started reffing, even was considered in offside position and attempting to gain an advantage was considered enough to be involved in active play. (That history is really why we have the strange definition of "gaining an advantage" in Law 11 today--no one would have chosen that language initially to represent what it means.)

IFAB has kept tweaking the laws to narrow what it means to be actively involved.

Interfering with play means--and only means--playing or touching the ball. (With the minor caveat that is set out in the diagrams at the back that the infraction can be called before the offside positioned player actually touches the ball if no onside teammates are pursuing the ball and the offside positioned player is likely to get to it. Diagram 4.)

So many plays are going to come down to interfering with an opponent. as @one posted above, that is quite narrowly defined in Law 11. (Though you need to read the whole law carefully--they also sneak in interfering with the movement of an opponent on page 98, even though it isn't one of the four bullets.)

Running towards the ball doesn't fit into any of the five buckets. your play is essentially diagram 3 -- you need to "wait and see" which player gets to the ball. (Which, of course, means ignoring the multitude yelling for offside--on a play that would have already been an infraction for offside a number of years ago, but the law has changed.) I have on occasion told a coach of a youth team something like, "yes, that would have been OS when we played, but the law has evolved."
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
#7
All of the above is correct. The one exception is the "challenging an opponent" clause in @one's picture - if the attacker pulls, trips or otherwise directly affects an opponent, they can be offside even if they don't end up getting to the ball first as a result.
 
#8
All of the above is correct. The one exception is the "challenging an opponent" clause in @one's picture - if the attacker pulls, trips or otherwise directly affects an opponent, they can be offside even if they don't end up getting to the ball first as a result.
Well almost, but not quite. If they pull or trip the opponent (before committing an offside offence, that is) you call the foul, not the offside. It would only be where they directly affect the opponent's ability to play the ball but without fouling them, that you would call the offside.

Although it's not an exactly identical scenario, this is within the spirit of the principle expressed on page 98, LotG 2018/19 edition, pdf version, as follows:
In situations where:
• a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position [...] moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent’s progress (e.g. blocks the opponent) the offence should be penalised under Law 12.
 
#9
For me, penalising the foul also complies with the principle of simultaneous offences. Yes, the offside-positioned player has interfered with an opponent but they have also committed a foul which, at least if it involves contact (and a pull or trip certainly does) is a direct free kick offence rather than an IFK.
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
#10
Well almost, but not quite. If they pull or trip the opponent (before committing an offside offence, that is) you call the foul, not the offside. It would only be where they directly affect the opponent's ability to play the ball but without fouling them, that you would call the offside.

Although it's not an exactly identical scenario, this is within the spirit of the principle expressed on page 98, LotG 2018/19 edition, pdf version, as follows:
Fair point, but doesn't (or didn't) the law allow for "trifling" fouls? I would argue that a trifling foul off the ball that wouldn't usually cause you to blow up can become a reason to call the offside rather than a foul.
 
#11
Hi,

Sorry, if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find an answer. The following scenario, I see very often at the U16 levels, with different ability attackers.

Ball covers over the top. Attacker A is offside, Attacker B is onside. Both run for the ball, and Defenders chase both. The onside Attacker B gets to the ball first.

Offside?

Cheers
Chris
To sum it up in basic terms for newish refs (like myself) you have to ask yourself did the offside player A have any impact at all on the defenders attempt to either win the ball or get to the ball, if he had no impact then let it go, if he did then he is offiside.
 
#12
Fair point, but doesn't (or didn't) the law allow for "trifling" fouls? I would argue that a trifling foul off the ball that wouldn't usually cause you to blow up can become a reason to call the offside rather than a foul.
Well yes, it goes without saying that if there is something that you think does not even rise to the level of a foul in the first place, you don't give it as a foul.
 
#13
To sum it up in basic terms for newish refs (like myself) you have to ask yourself did the offside player A have any impact at all on the defenders attempt to either win the ball or get to the ball, if he had no impact then let it go, if he did then he is offiside.
I think I'd be careful about saying it's an offside offence if the player in an offside position has "any impact at all on the defenders attempt to either win the ball or get to the ball" given that there are some people who seem to think (and I've seen the opinion expressed on here) that even having an impact by affecting the defender's thinking or decision-making is enough for it to be an offence. I think the IFAB (through the various circulars and law 11 amendments in recent years) has been at pains to establish the principle that there must be a direct impact on the defender's ability to physically play the ball - rather than just any impact at all.
 
#14
To sum it up in basic terms for newish refs (like myself) you have to ask yourself did the offside player A have any impact at all on the defenders attempt to either win the ball or get to the ball, if he had no impact then let it go, if he did then he is offiside.
I'd say that is necessary, but not sufficient.

Under modern interpretations, there are ways an OSP player might "affect" the defender that still don't meet the interfering with an opponent standard. For example, an OSP player 20 yards away may "affect" the decision a GK makes, but that is not enough impact (under modern interpretations) to be considered interfering with an opponent.
 

SLI39

Well-Known Member
#19
It's something non-referees are constantly vexed by, whether it's genuinely confounded (not malicious) parents on Saturday morning or pundits on national television who used to play. However much our minds are ingrained in the LOTG--and I could point to aspects of law with less inherent logic--we have to consider where this interpretation of offside leads. Yes, those who claim 'grey areas' are ironically in favour of a law that requires much more nuance in determining offence, but a scenario we will eventually get with this version of the law is as follows: defenders/goalkeepers biting the bullet and making no challenge whatsoever from a set piece, an attacker rising unchallenged and heading the ball in; the defending team demanding a VAR review and receiving vindication 2-3 minutes later. At what cost excitement? And what tantrums will we see on the weekend when a team has recreated this ingenious strategy only to be appalled by a referee who is not stupid enough, let alone permitted, to bring his Apple tv along to the local recreation ground?
 
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