I was refereeing a 10 year old's junior game today and this situation happened. The home team's defender attempted to pass from their own half to their forward who was in an offside position beyond the halfway line.

I was going to blow the whistle but the ball deflected off an away defender and then went to the originally offside attacker who put the ball wide.

I viewed this as onside at the time because the ball struck the away team player, however now I think it was offside because at the time of pass, the home player was offside.

Is this offside or not?

1 Answer 1


In this situation one has to refer to Law 11 - Offside: 2. Offside Offence. Which states that:

A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:

  • ...

  • gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has:

    • rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent
    • been deliberately saved by any opponent

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

A ‘save’ is when a player stops a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).

So, in your case it was offside, because the ball deflected off an opponent.

If it were a deliberate save by an opponent then again offside.

If it were a deliberate play by an opponent (that was not a save), then no offside.

  • 3
    I edited the conclusion here, as it made the implication that a deliberate save is not a deliberate play, which isn't logically correct. A deliberate save is a deliberate play, but it is a special deliberate play that does not "reset" offside. Feel free to roll back the edit if you disagree. May 29, 2017 at 0:53

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