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The Referee’s Role in Determining an Offside Offense

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(Photo credit: fchmksfkcb)

Our colleague Mark Mittelstadt suggested this topic after watching the West Bromley Albion – Swansea City EPL match Saturday. It reminded me of an embarrassing moment early in my career.

In the first high-level regional tournament I ever worked, I was AR1 with a National Referee in the middle. My attacking team had a corner kick on my corner. I set up for it even with the goal line as two defenders were on the posts. The attacker mis-struck the ball in the direction of the penalty spot. The two defenders immediately came off the goal line towards the ball. I moved left with the second to last opponent and noted the kick taker was now offside. An attacker and defender converged on the ball and it returned to the kick taker. I popped the flag. One problem… the ball had come off the defender, not the kick taker’s teammate. The referee recognized what happened and waved me down. (In my defense, it appeared that the ball had been returned by the kick taker’s teammate.)

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IFAB 2013 AGM Decisions

Assistant referee during the match FC Barcelon...

Assistant referee during the match FC Barcelona-RCD Mallorca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In relation to the Laws of the Game, IFAB approved a clarification of the wording of Law 11 (Offside, Interpretation of the Laws of the Game). The IFAB agreed that the current wording is not precise enough, regarding “interfering with an opponent/gaining an advantage.” The new approved wording can be found in the agenda on FIFA.com (see below).

Brief reports were also provided on Additional Assistant Referees, and the decision approved last year related to Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment) with regards to the headscarf – to allow a trial, non-mandatory period – the IFAB reiterated that a final decision will be made at next year’s Annual General Meeting.

Finally, a proposal to review Law 8 (The Start and Restart of Play “Dropped Ball”) was postponed for further consultation, with a new proposal to be presented at the 2014 Annual General Meeting. An agreement was also made to form a working group to review the full Laws of the Game to improve clarity where appropriate.

Amendments to the Laws of the Game taken today by the IFAB come into effect on 1 July 2013. Read the rest of this entry