Offside situation - who was offside?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by Kryten, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Kryten

    Kryten Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Kansas City
    U14 Boys, skilled players. Both ARs are experienced, several years as referees.

    Play is near midfield, and Red attacker 1 plays a ball through, cutting deep behind the defense. Red 2 and Red 3 take off after the ball (along with the green defenders) - from my position as center, it appeared that either Red 2 or Red 3 could have been in an offside position. Both Red 2 and Red 3 have a good chance to reach and play the ball. AR flags for offside immediately - and I think to myself "Damn! He hasn't waited for definite involvement, which one was offside?"

    The problem - I don't know whether one of the attackers is onside, and if I stop play now, I may take his great scoring chance away.

    I allowed play to continue, and Red 2 collects the ball and scores. I make no signal at this point and run over to confer with the AR.

    He is still in position where he flagged, but his flag is now down. I ask which player was offside, and he indicates that Red 2, the player who received the ball and scored, was in an offside position. I say, "Thank you - remember, keep your flag up!", and now, loudly "Offside - the player who scored was offside!" and put my hand up to indicate the IDFK. A brief explanation to the attackers and defenders, and we got underway again.

    I ended up with a good result, and got the call correct, I see potential problems with what I did. Am I masterminding my AR by deciding that he might have made a mistake and allowing play to continue? What do I do if the ball doesn't go out of play quickly, have I endplayed myself into accepting an offside play? What are the AR's options in this situation - how can he communicate during active play whether he flagged the wrong player too quickly, or if an offside player definitely became involved?
  2. ref47

    ref47 Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    n. va
    unless you are 100% sure the ar should not have the flag raised (and you are waiving it down) you have to go with the offside call. sure, the ar will make mistakes. sometimes favoring attack; sometimes defense. we all live with those mistakes. but you can not assume a mistake. you need to be sure, 100%, before you waive that flag down.
  3. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good point! If you've covered making sure that the offside player is involved in play before flagging in your pre-game, then you should assume that the AR is doing as instructed - unless you have evidence to the contrary.
  4. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

    Apr 7, 2004
    Southern NH
    You are asking for trouble by ignoring the flag, you stated the ARs are experienced so either you trust them or you don't. They have the view they get the call, it's their's to make, support them with it. By not doing so you are asking for a management issue with the players, coaches and/or parents.

    If they are not experienced you may change your positioning to account for this (I did this Saturday), but if they know the job, let them do it.
  5. refereejoe

    refereejoe New Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Bay Area - Cal North
    As others have alluded, I think it is unfortunate but you only have two options the moment the flag goes up: blow the whistle or wave it down. Leaving the flag alone with play continuing just doesn't represent well! At least your decisions were spot on with the rest of play and things worked out, which ultimately is the most important thing in the end.

    I wonder if a better course of action is to go ahead and wave the AR down, then discuss (if still needed) at the next stoppage? At least it gets the flag issue out of the way and allows play to continue, even though it would give the impression of the CR overruling the AR and cause some disapproval.

    I hate to think that our only course is to blow the whistle at this point, and either get the call right or wrong!
  6. jkc313

    jkc313 Member

    Nov 21, 2001
    Hmmm. When you waved the flag down, you told everyone there including all the players that there was no offside. How do you justify changing your mind? To me, your waving down had the same effect as blowing a whistle. There's no advantage to give on Law 11 so I think you have to allow the goal. I'll admit that I'm not sure what the Law would say but that's my first impression. Should NOT wave the flag down unless you are sure. And if you're sure, don't then go ask the AR if you made a mistake.
  7. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

    Aug 8, 2003
    Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In other words, to answer the thread title, you were offside.

    ;) :D
  8. refereejoe

    refereejoe New Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Bay Area - Cal North
    Well, I'm thinking more in lines that the referee is not asking if he made a mistake, since he is acknowledging the flag and the potential offside and deciding to wave down with the intent on seeking clarification should the need arise. There isn't a change in decision in so much as there is a postponement.

    Further, the AR's flag is nothing more than a communication tool for the referee. Nothing in the laws state that waving the flag down signals that a non-call is being made, it is simply the referee telling the AR that he has seen the flag and would like it to be put down.

    So the major drawbacks I see are:
    1) The AR is not sure the intent of the CR at this point, and
    2) The players/coaches/spectators may see this is an overturning of the AR, and might not like it too much.

    However, you do get a pretty important call correct!
  9. jkc313

    jkc313 Member

    Nov 21, 2001
    I checked with Jim Allen and I'm wrong. His decision stands although what he did was confusing to everyone.
  10. zeusbrowne

    zeusbrowne New Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    West Orange, NJ
    I didn't read where Kryten said he waved the flag down, he seemed to choose not to acknowledge it.

    Essentially the CR in this situation has deferred the decision by deciding to pretend he didn't see the flag. In the end the correct decision was made and the correct mechanics (according to the 'I saw the flag late' scenario) were followed.

    OTOH, since the CR DID see the flag, and it is likely that both the AR and some or all of the players/coaches/spectators know that, it puts the CR in a bit of hot water for selling the call. Ultimately, this is a situation that could leave one team or another feeling very aggrieved which (right or wrong) can create a match control problem that could bite you in the ass down the line in the game.

    Additionally, the CR also creates a perception of a lack of trust in the AR which may or may not leave his (the ARs) panties in a wad and may affect his credibility on the field (another potential match control issue). Putting myself in the postion of the AR, I might get a bit crabby about the CR's implied lack of trust. I'd get over it, but it might make me cranky.

    Final analysis is, while nothing was out and out gotten wrong on this play, the potential exists to create a bit of a game management mess later. A quick cost/benefit consideration tells me "blow the whistle, sometimes you just don't need to make it that hard." The potential negative impact of an incorrect offside called just over the halfway line is low. The potentail negative impact of the play the way the CR called it seems much higher (too high) to me.

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