Case Study: Offside and Interfering with an Opponent, 2014

Case Study # 02-2014
Date 12 Jan 2014
Competition Barclays Premier League
Fixture/Result Newcastle United 0 – 2 Manchester City
Referee/Badge Mike Jones, Select Group
At Issue A Newcastle goal is ruled out for offside in a controversial decision

Immediately after a corner clearance in the 32nd minute, Newcastle captain Tiote scores what appears to be a goal that would’ve leveled the score at 1-1.  After consultation with the Assistant Referee, the goal was ruled out for offside.

While is is very clear that more than one Newcastle player was in an offside position at the time of the goal, it is less clear if the player closest to the goal was actually offside.

Law 11 mandates that a player in an offside position is judged offside only if he:

  • interferes with an opponent
  • interferes with play
  • gains an advantage by being in that position

Further clarity is given via the USSF publication “Advice to Referees” which states:

“interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball.

“gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball
I) that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, or crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position
II) that rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position

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

Clearly, interfering with an opponent is the applicable condition to be examined.

Does the Newcastle player in an offside position make a gesture or movement which deceives or distracts an opponent?  In my opinion, a case could be made either way, and ultimately, the referee must make a decision.

The more salient point for those of us in the parks each weekend is that the referee team followed the proper mechanics to a “T” in this case.  The assistant referee clearly saw the Newcastle attacker in an offside position and realized the referee must make the final decision, as he had a much better view of the attacker in relation to the goalkeeper.  The AR calls the referee over for a discussion, shares the relevant information, and a decision is reached.  Of course, radio communication helped the AR in alerting the referee that he had information to share.

For a very similar case study from the 2012/13 season, click here.

A footnote to Mr. Pardew: “Linesmen” stopped working Premier League games many years ago.

3 responses to “Case Study: Offside and Interfering with an Opponent, 2014”

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