6

I just realized I didn't really have a definitive answer to this subtlety of the offside rule.

When a player is in offside position at the time of the pass but not affecting the play, no offside will be called. At what point is this player allowed to return to the play?

Some possibilities.

  1. He must "tag up" at the original position of the offside line.
  2. He must "tag up" with the current position of the ball
  3. He can't enter play until a turnover has occurred.
  4. He should just lie on the pitch and contemplate life until a stoppage in play or the ball returns across half.
7

The Laws of the Game (Law 11, p. 36) state that you have committed an offside offense if you are in an offside position and the referee determines you've gained an advantage or affected the play. Here's the exact wording:

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play or
  • interfering with an opponent or
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position

"Tagging up" doesn't do anything, as the player was still offside when the ball was touched by his teammate and is now interfering with the play.

If the opponent touches the ball, the player who was offside can re-enter play, as long as he's not interfering with the opponent (at the judgement of the referee).

If a teammate of his who was not offside at the time of the play gets the ball and then passes it to him (and he's not now offside), then he can participate in the play.

There's a bit of clarification in the FIFA discussion of Law 11.

5

The accepted answer covers it fairly well. I will add that in order to minimise referee discretion / judgement and therefore increase consistency, FIFA / IFAB have made it more clear cut than the answer suggests as to when previously offside players may re-involve themselves in play.

If, when a player is an offside position, a teammate touches the ball, the player in an offside position may not be involved in active play (ie. interfere with play or an opponent) again until:

  • the ball is deliberately played by an opponent, unless the deliberate play is a save (in which case the player originally in an offside position is still restricted from touching the ball);

    p. 111 of the 2015/16 FIFA Laws of the Game:

    “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball

    i. that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position

    ii. that rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position

    A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

  • the ball is touched by a teammate while the player originally in an offside position is standing in an onside position;

    p. 36 of the 2015/16 FIFA Laws of the Game:

    A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

    • interfering with play or
    • interfering with an opponent or
    • gaining an advantage by being in that position
  • the ball goes out of play.

    This isn't explicitly written in the Laws, but logically, any restart taken by an opponent is an example of deliberately playing the ball and any restart taken by a teammate is either exempt from offside (ie. throw-in, goal kick, corner kick), or will result in offside being re-evaluated when the restart is taken.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.