December 11, 2011

Why Barca's 2-1 was offside

Raúl Cabañero Martínez
Yesterday, there was one big mistake by the referee team leaded by David Fernández Borbalán who has worked - apart from this call - very well and who has shown why he is thus well-regarded in Spain at the moment.

Barca scored their second goal in the early stages of the second half, but the attentive spectator has already recognized in the real pace that there was something wrong: the goal followed an offside offence, however, Raúl Cabañero Martínez, his first assistant referee, did not flag for it which he should have done. Nonetheless, it has to be emphasized that this call was probably hard to make.

The following screenshots show the situation:

# 1: the goal attempt develops

# 2: the underlined defenders are still in passive offside

# 3: a great tight-pass aimed at striker B, defender A sees the danger..

# 4: ...and clears the ball. Striker B's offside position is now active

# 5: the clearance arrives at another Barca striker who makes a shot

# 6: Marcelo unsaveably deflects the ball, 1-2 for Barca!

It is one of these paramount examples one needs to make the new rule clear which was a bit altered at the start of this year. The rule 11 clearly emphasizes that a player commits an offside related infringement in the following cases:

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball
touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee,
involved in active play by:
• interfering with play or
• interfering with an opponent* or
• gaining an advantage by being in that position

[* And there may not be any doubt on the statement that the defender A's behaviour or action was based on his fear that a 30-million-striker stands behind him...]

In the FIFA Laws of the Game document's 2nd part, there is also a description with examples which generalize such situations. Picture 9 is suitable here, the defender's distraction through the opponent being in an offside position does not automatically require a contact between two players:

It would have been great if - in this special match followed by millions of spectators all around the world - the assistant referee had raised his flag, so that it would have been made clear for all these supporters when this rule change is effective.
Summarizing one can say that the referees missed this offside decision which unfolds to be of match influencing or even decisive nature, but this may not compromise the good work the team did throughout the whole clásico, some mistakes are just humane...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. In my opinion, that was not offside (no interference with an opponent). Very good interpretation by the AR.

  3. According to the 2011 FIFA Laws of the Game (page 102), "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 movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent". Therefore, in the situation described above it was not interfering with an opponent, so no offside.

  4. you need not be too complicated when describing it.
    The defender only had to make this "skeleton-sliding-tackle" because there was a defender behind him. That means that his action, his movement, the fact that he had to clear the ball involuntarily are naturally based on the circumstance that there was a striker who could have reached the ball in a dangerous position, you can also see that in FIFA's picture (9), the action of defender (B) is influenced by the striker (A) behind him.
    Therefore: if this is not offside according to the new rule, when has it to be applied? Then there would be no need to apply it.
    But this is some kind of match reading and interpretation, if we consider it from the defender's perspective, latter certainly confirms that there was actually no need to make this uncontrolled sliding-tackle except due to the striker.


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