September 12, 2014

Offside - Clearly Obstructing the Line of Vision

CLEARLY OBSTRUCTING THE LINE OF VISION...
is part of the criteria "interfering with an opponent" and makes an offside position punishable.
Interfering with an opponent is one of three criteria that determine the punishability of an offside position, which is no offense in itself. Besides clearly obstructing the line of vision, challenging an opponent for the ball belongs to interfering with an opponent and can be found here.



Although Law 11 does not further define the meaning of "clearly", the guidelines given by UEFA are pretty comprehensible.

An attacker, who is initially in an offside position, must clearly obstruct an opponent's line of vision to be penalized. If this possible obstruction is unclear, the attacker should not be penalized.

Clear obstruction: OFFSIDE OFFENCE, INDIRECT FREE-KICK
No totally clear obstruction: NO OFFSIDE OFFENCE, PLAY-ON

Teamwork is crucial

In most cases, the attacker concerned is standing between another attacker, who pulls off a shot on goal, and the goalkeeper, whose line of vision is obstructed. While assistant referees can assess the attacker's offside position itself, the referee has the main responsibility, as he is the (only) one who is able to idenfity whether the attacker in an offside position really clearly obstruct an opponent's line of vision.
Therefore, the assistant referee's perceptual judgement and the referee's information should be put together by the means of teamwork in order to come to the correct decision. How co-operation in offside decisions should look like can be found here.

CLIP 1 - Obstruction of the Line of Vision



Interpretation: 
At the moment of an attacking player's shot on goal, another white-dressed attacker is moving between the ball and the goalkeeper and clearly obstructs his line of vision. Play must be stopped for offside offence and re-started accordingly.
In this case, the referee read the situation and co-operated well with the assistant referee. Here's what each official was able to judge:

Referee: He is able to detect that the attacker was clearly obstructing the goalkeeper's line of vision.
Assistant Referee: He is able to detect the offside position itself and probably feels that there could be an obstruction of the goalkeeper's line of vision - but from his position, he cannot be 100% sure.

Putting both pieces of information together by the means of co-operation, the correct decision is taken by the referee and his assistant with some time of thinking. This procedure is exemplary and demonstrates a high degree of teamwork in the World Cup 2014 final team.

CLIP 2 - No Obstruction of the Line of Vision



Interpretation: 
At the moment of the shot on goal, another attacker is in an offside position but does not obstruct the goalkeeper's line of vision (he is standing but close to the goalkeeper's line of vision but never obstructs it in any way). The goal is correctly allowed as there is no offside offence, given that the attacker did not interfere with play by touching the ball either.

CLIP 3 - No Obstruction of the Line of Vision


Interpretation:
At the moment of the attacker's shot on goal, attacker #30 is in an offside position. As you can see at 00:18 in the video, he is very close to the goalkeeper's line of vision. However, he does not obstruct the line of vision of the goalkeeper, who is able to see the ball at all times. The goal is correctly allowed as there is no offside offence. The referee quickly allows the goal, while - what only the stadium view can tell - the assistant referee was standing still indicating that he has doubts and needs the referee's information.
For assistant referees, it is extremely difficult to judge whether an attacker has clearly obstructed the goalkeeper's line of vision. That's why teamwork must solve such situations and the referee is equally, if not more responsible for such decisions.

This post will stay dynamic. Quiz-clips will be made available soon.

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