Team A is with the ball and attacking. Team B is the defending team.

Can team B play an advantage on an offside by team A?

  • 1
    The instance I was looking for was this : Team A is desperately defending against team B. Team A stations an attacker very close to the Team B's goalkeeper (inside the 6-yard box, perhaps) and attempt to hoof the ball to him whenever they win it. He's in an obvious offside position on every occasion, but helps use up valuable seconds since Team B has to take the free-kick ensuing from the offside from the six-yard box every time.
    – Yaitzme
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 11:50
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    Yes, advantage is possible here. However, there may not even be an offence - the offside player has to touch the ball, touch an opponent or block an opponent's (eg. the goalkeeper's) line of sight for an offence to occur here. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 4:24
  • 1
    Not exactly. If the player is deemed to be 'affecting' play, then he is declared offside despite not fulfilling any of the 3 conditions above. In fact, just running towards a ball when in an offside position, will suffice to be flagged.
    – Yaitzme
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 12:04
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    no that's not true any more - it hasn't been that way for nearly ten years. Read page 108 of the 2014/15 Laws of The Game. fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/refereeing/02/36/01/11/… Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 22:40
  • 1
    Sometimes you will see the assistant referee flag before an offside player touches the ball. This is only done if there are no teammates nearby and the assistant referee is 100% certain that the offside player will touch the ball. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 22:42

3 Answers 3


From page 72 of FIFA's 2013-2014 Laws of The Game:

The referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs.

This would include offside, which in Law 11, is considered as an "offence".

Traditionally (up until a few years ago), referees could only play advantage from fouls and misconduct (Law 12 offences) and infringements that occurred during the taking of penalty kicks (Law 14 infringements).

This was not written in the laws, but was considered common knowledge.


Yes, it is the referee's discretion to respond to the linesman's flag and stop play or to play on if advantage is apparent.


Addition to @rajat's answer: it usually happens in the case where the attacker actually doesn't even run to the ball, or the ball going too fast/high for the attacker to get to.

It is however unusual that there is much of an "advantage" in that, as it's rare that the defending team suddenly gets into an attacking position which would justify playing an "advantage".

Normally referee blows the whistle as soon as he sees the linesman's raised flag, as late offside calls are tricky for both attackers and defenders. If the flag is slightly delayed and the defending team is not being threatened by the attack anymore, the ref may choose to not stop the game for the sake of flow.

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