This week another deliberate versus deflection offside situation is in play again. We also will compare two instances where ARs assisted in game management with different results. Also, we give our opinion on the offside situation in Vancouver we presented last week. By the way, voting on that play ran 63% / 37% in favor of no offside. We will offer another play for you to look at and decide, deliberate? or not so deliberate? And, because we can't let it go - staying concentrated when the ball has been played out and seemingly in control of the defense.
Vancouver v Real Salt Lake Offside Situation
Over the last few years, as the offside law has been re-written and re-clarified, all of the changes have gone towards benefiting the attacker. In previous years this play may have been deemed offside but according to FIFA’s current instructions and guidelines this play is not offside.
Kudo is in an offside position at the moment of the pass. The AR is in a credible position to interpret the offside, has a clear view of Beltran’s attempt to clear the ball and can also see that Kudo does not play the ball.
FIFA is using the term "impact" with attackers in offside position and this is where it can be difficult to reach a consensus among offside purists. “Impact” applies to an opponent’s (Beltran) ability or potential ability to play the ball. It does appear that Kudo makes contact with Beltran at the top of the penalty area as the play develops, however at that point, he is in an onside position so we cannot consider it as part of the final offside decision. Once the cross is made, as best you can tell, there is no or minimal contact with Beltran. Beltran is not hindered or prevented from playing the ball (no “impact”) and it is unfortunate that the ball rebounds into the goal.
It is correct to say that Kudo is an integral part of the goal as Beltran would have most likely made a different play on the ball had he not been there. However, FIFA has determined that simply being in an offside position is not an infraction and therefore we have to wait and see if there is clear “impact” as they have defined it.
Is This Deliberate?
Go ahead and look at this play, probably several times, is this a deliberate play by the defender? If it is, then it would not be offside. Vote and give your reasons in the comment section.
Two Cases of Assisting with Game Management
Sometimes assistant referees need to help with decisions that are farther away than usual, but are crucial for the referee crew to get right. In Salt Lake v New England, AR Craig Lowry realizes that even though the referee might be closer to the play, he is concentrating on the players with the ball and cannot see the action to his right. The AR has a better angle of view and sees Kei Kamara foul the defender before the cross is made. He flags the play and uses the communication system to inform the referee of what foul occurred. This is good teamwork as the referee knew something had happened in his peripheral vision, but had not seen it clearly.
In cases like this the AR should also keep track of the number of the player that committed the foul behind the play in case misconduct is necessary.
In Columbus v DC United, a tackle by Columbus' Afful is seen by the assistant as serious foul play, but is it? Since the assistant referee does have a credible view, is close enough to the play and the referee is possibly screened, it is appropriate to get involved. However, to give proper help assistant referees need to know what factors are to be considered for atackle to be deemed serious foul play.
Among others, here are three things to be considered for this tackle.
- Does the player show clear malice in the tackle.
- On which part of the opponent's body is contact made
- Is the player challenging for the ball at the moment the contact is made
This play is not serious foul play as contact i(if any) is made at the feet of the opponent (not the leg). The ball is being challenged and there is not clear malice in the tackle. Before offering assistance to the referee, you should be sure that a tackle meets the standard for serious foul play. If unsure, there is no problem in telling the referee, "I've seen a straight legged tackle, but I'm not sure where contact was made." Basically, you offer the referee the piece of the puzzle that you have seen and the referee can add the other pieces to form the right picture.
Impact by The Impact?
Watch this play and look for "impact" at Montreal Impact v NY Football Club. Unfortunately there is not a clear replay to see if Montreal's Drogba is offside at the moment of this shot, but for sake of argument, let's assume he is.
Does his movement toward the ball impact the goalkeeper? Concentrate on the movement of the goalkeeper as you view the clip, is there a pause or a stutter in his tracking of the shot?
Due to Drogba's position to the right of the goalkeeper, the ball is already past the keeper before Drogba comes into his view.
Although Drogba makes an attempt to play the ball, that clear action does not "impact" the keeper and this is a good goal.
No Time to Relax
This play seems to be hardly worth watching at first glance. A cross that the goalkeeper easily gathers up before an onside attacker can play it. Should this goal scoring opportunity even have occurred?
At the moment the ball is stolen off a miss-touch by the defender the attacker that received the ball is in an offside position. Then when he actually plays the ball he is interfering and should be flagged.
How was this missed? The split screen shows it.
The assistant relaxes when the defense gets possession of the ball. He has already turned his body up field and he is caught by surprise, not square to the field at the moment the ball is played. At that point he cannot be sure of the position the attacker had.
Whenever there is a "lazy" attacker behind the defense you need to stay alert and ready, sidestepping if necessary. On this play you can notice that there are many attackers in the area of the ball and teams will press the ball. When you see this type of situation you need to stay alert.
Great Calls for Week
As usual, we highlighted excellent assistant referee work for the week.
Columbus v Toronto featured this very good decision by Jeff Muschik. This is not easy, as keeping track of that far defender can be missed if you are not fully concentrated.
Eric Weisbrod correctly calls back this goal in Philadelphia v NY Red Bulls. This play falls under "teamwork" as although Eric is pretty certain that the ball is played by the attacker, he does get it confirmed by the referee who is better positioned to see the final touch.