I have the ball. My back is to the opponent's goal. My teammate, further from but facing the goal, is running toward me and toward the goal.

Rather than turn and shoot, I pass the ball back to my teammate who immediately shoots.

Am I offside?

  • The rules literally say that I am offside if actively involved in play or gaining an advantage. Once I have passed the ball, I am in a sense no longer actively involved in play, but this may not be a question I can solve by quoting the rules. I wish to know how referees conventionally judge such a case. Is the pass-back-and-shoot a legal play? Or is it only legal if defenders are far enough back to render the play onside?
    – thb
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


Obviously, at the moment your teammate touches the ball, you are in an offside position (supposing all defenders are further from the goal, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking, I guess). But being in an offside position is not an offence in itself.

To be penalised for offside, you’d need to be

[…] involved in active play by:

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

(FIFA: Laws of the Game 2015/2016, Law 11 – Offside)

The official Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees defines those terms in this way:

  • “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate
  • “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball
  • “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 OR
    • 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.

In your situation, it means you would be offside if either

  • Your teammate hit you with his shot.
  • You would be clearly obstructing the goalkeeper’s line of vision (or challenging the goalkeeper).
  • You would get to play the ball after it rebounds from the goalposts or the goalkeeper.

Otherwise, the pass-back-and-shoot is completely legal.

  • This answer is mostly correct, but could be improved by using the latest edition of the Laws of The Game, in which the interpretations are slightly different. FIFA is no longer publishing the Laws; this is now managed by IFAB here: theifab.com/#!/laws Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 6:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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