IFAB Law 11 Clarification

It’s not often that IFAB comes out with a clarification on something from the Laws of the Game but when it’s something as special as Law 11, they can make an exception.

We’ve talked about amendments in the past which generally happen on an annual basis as the sport evolves and things are being introduced. Clarifications, on the other hand, take effect immediately and are used to eliminate confusion in the interpretation of Law by referees and all other stakeholders.

Law 11 is the offside law for those of you who are unaware. One of the shortest laws in the book but one that has a cataclysmic effect on the game and presents complexities in the sport that changes euphoria for players into confusion and anger in a heartbeat and vice versa.

IFAB Law 11 Clarification – 2015

Here are a few of our observations on IFAB’s intentions (but not comprehensive).

The definition of an offside offence is being tightened so that:

  • mere presence isn’t construed as interference depending on proximity and in the attacker’s action.
  • effort isn’t punished when a player runs from far but doesn’t play the ball.

I’m a little late to the party because the clarification was delivered a little over a month ago but we were able to verify the authenticity directly from FIFA’s Refereeing department of this clarification authored by Lukas Brud, the IFAB secretary.

Disclaimer: Our previous post on DOGSO-H or Offside requires correction as handling cannot be considered as a deliberate save by a player other than the goalkeeper. As a result, offside is nullified as the ball has been deliberately played by a defender and allows the offside positioned attacker to legally score.

In this case, it would be wiser to wait-and-see for advantage to materialise. In this case, it does and it is indeed possible for the goal to be upheld and the defender cautioned for unsporting behaviour instead.

It would however not be wrong if the referee blew the whistle when handling was identified and for a penalty kick and dismissal for denying a goal by deliberately handling the ball. Goal + caution is the ideal decision for a referee to make in this situation.

Jump to Page 110 of the current version of the Laws to catch up on the current wording and to better understand how this clarification impacts things.

Happy flagging or not depending on the situation!

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