++ We base(d) the solution "penalty kick" on a solution the IFAB submitted to the DFB at the end of July 2016, i.e. after the revision of the laws, for exactly this kind of scenario. As UEFA's and FIFA's guidelines for comparable situations seem to be in conflict with that, we have contacted the IFAB and hope for clarification from their side. ++
++ It all depends on one aspect: When does the offside offence start? ++
++ When we have evidence for either decision - penalty kick or offside - we inform you as soon as possible. ++
Our original and preliminary solution:
A situation from yesterday's Rostov vs Bayern Champions League match was slightly under the radar of the medial interest, but has a high relevance for refereeing and might even make Bayern launch protests against the match result. Reason enough to review it early.
The situation: Ribery is making a middle-high pass into the penalty targeted at Lewandowski, who is standing in a tight offside position. During the pass, he is clearly held and pushed by defending player Navas - in a way that makes referee Artur Soares Dias of Portugal point to the spot immediately to award Bayern a penalty kick.
However, he then recognizes the flag raised by his assistant referee 2 Paulo Santos Soares who well detected the tight offside position following a correct wait-and-see-technique.
Therefore, Soares changes his decision, raises his hand and gives an indirect free-kick for offside.
However, this is a violation of the Laws of the Game - to be precise: of Law 5.
Law 5 says: "The referee ... punishes the more serious offence, in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact, when more than one offence occurs at the same time."
At the end of July 2016 and upon request of the DFB, the IFAB clarified that a holding (direct free-kick) is more serious than an offside position (indirect free-kick) - specially if punishable by a yellow card - so that a penalty kick has to be awarded if the offence happens at the same time or before the offside position becomes punishable. (> document; question no.7).
The DFB claimed that they had asked the IFAB this:
"A player is standing in the opposite team's penalty area and is in an offside position. Shortly before the pass into the penalty area can reach him, he is pulled down by a defender. The offside position and holding offence therefore occur at the same time."
Literally translated, the IFAB allegedly replied this:
"Reasoning: In principle, the more serious offence has to be punished. And the holding (direct free-kick) is punished more seriously than an offside position (indirect free-kick), specially when the holding or any type of foul play requires a yellow card."
You can intuitively argue that Lewandowski was in an offside position seconds before the holding. But this does not matter, as a punishable offside offence requires becoming actively involved in play e.g. by interfering with an opponent which requires a certain ball proximity (the ball was "miles away" when the holding started). Either the holding happened before the offside offence or at the same time - depending on your view. In both cases, the penalty kick must be awarded.
For this reason, the referee should have taken note of his assistant referee's flag, waived it down and thanked him for his input. Nonetheless, he (and his team) should have awarded the penalty kick as originally assigned.
The procedure done by the Portuguese referee team is, unfortunately, a violation of the laws influencing and changing a fact-based decision - at least based on the written Law 5 and the only precise, official guideline we currently have at hand. Against this background, Bayern could theoretically have chances to lodge a complaint against this situation resulting in a replay of the game.
Please have your say and also consider the arguments raised by users in form of comments! There are two polls. Please fill out both of them. At first please tell us what you believe SHOULD BE the right decision. Then, please tell us what you think IS the right decision based on the current laws.