After 3 editions of clarifications on the offside law, Football OPOD continues to receive more requests on different offside scenarios. So once again, we will spend more time taking a look at the beautiful game's most controversial law.
For a quick recap on the actual definition of the Offside law from the lawbook, you can refer back to the first offisde edition. Once you think you're ready for this next situation, move on and read the rest of the article!
Situation and Complication:
This happened just over the weekend when I was watching a friendly match between 2 social teams. The attacking team had made a few passes in the middle of the park when the playmaker attempted to play a through ball to his striker. The defending team's sweeper had anticipated the pass and stepped up to play the striker offside. Although he successfully executed the offside trap, the ball had ricocheted off his feet and went out of play behind the byline.
Once again, to better depict the situation, we'll use a diagram to illustrate the exact positioning of the players involved in the action:
Should the referee penalize the striker for being in an offside position, or should he award a corner kick to the attacking team?
As always, the key question for a offside offence that needs to be addressed in this scenario is whether the striker is:
1. Interfering with play
2. Interfering with an opponent
3. Gaining an advantage by being in that position
Clearly, 1 and 3 are out of question. This is because the striker never had a chance to touch the ball, hence can never be considered to be interfering with play (see part III for elaborations on interfering with play). Neither can the striker be considered to be gaining an advantage by being in that position since he never received the ball (to be further elaborated in the next edition).
Thus the only point of contention here is whether the striker is interfering with the defender who deflected the ball out of play. The FIFA Laws of the game handbook clarified this point clearly in their appendix for offside:
The attacker is not penalized for offside if he is not making any gesture or movement which deceives or distracts the defender.
The attacker is penalized for offside if he is making a gesture or movement which deceives or distracts the defender.
Therefore, the referee will have to make a decision on this situation based on how he judges the actions of the striker.
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