I attended a local referee’s meeting recently, where one of the topics was (of course) Offside. Ignoring the fact that many of the speakers like to call it “Offsides,” one specific scenario did spark a huge debate among the 100+ refs in attendance that night.
The speaker in charge of going through the slide show presentation with us showed us the scene. At the moment the ball is played, the Assistant Referee should take a “snapshot” of the players in his mind. In this snapshot, the defender was standing straight up, and the attacker in question was leaning forward and running towards goal, much like Dimitar Berbatov in the image you see above (NOTE: I Photoshopped the image to better reflect the scenario. I also moved Rooney forward so i could make the image larger!).
There were many in the room who said that if the attacker became involved in play, they would raise the flag for offside. The stated reason was that the attacker’s head and chest are behind the second last defender (we always ignore the arms when determining offside position).
There were also many in the room who said that they would keep the flag down. Their reasons included the infraction being considered doubtful because it is so close, and that if there is a hint of doubt, they would tend to favor the attack rather than potentially raise the flag and end up being wrong.
The speaker, who I assume is an experienced ref, shocked us all by saying that he would keep the flag down because there has to be daylight between the defender and the attacker to make the offside call!
So, what do you think? Do you raise the flag for offside, or do you keep the flag down?
Regardless of your interpretation of offside position, it is of the utmost importance to stay perfectly in line with the second last defender at all times. Being one step behind or ahead can be the difference between being heralded as a fantastic official, or being the entire stadium’s worst enemy as you call back a perfectly legitimate goal!
Click below and tell us what you think.