Friday, December 8, 2023
EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 17: Offside – Interfering with Play

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

We’re going back to my favorite subject of offside in POTW17 due to the rather unusual nature of this week’s play – it is an offside not recognized at a corner kick and the inevitable happened: a goal was scored.

The play is from the New York rivalry game between NYCFC and Red Bulls, in the sixth minute.


A corner is taken by City’s David Villa. He passes to team-mate Mehdi Ballouchy, who stops the ball for Villa to cross into the penalty area. Eventually a goal is scored by Thomas McNamara. This corner routine is obviously a tactic that has been practiced by NYCFC.

Usually this ploy would not be a problem, as there are often defenders on the goal line. However, when you look at the positions of all the players on the freeze frame, there are no defenders on the goal line which puts Villa in an offside position when the ball is touched by Ballouchy.

Therefore, as soon as Villa plays the ball he has committed an offside offense and should have been penalized for ‘Interfering with Play’.

Law 11, the Offside Law, states:

“Interfering with play means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate.”

So Villa interferes with play by playing the ball last touched by team-mate Ballouchy.

Law 11 also states that you cannot be offside directly from a corner kick, but ‘directly’ is the key word. As soon as Ballouchy touches the ball it becomes another phase of play.

An offside adjudication in this play would have been a surprise to everyone, and it is somewhat understandable why assistant referee Eric Boria missed it as it would have been totally unexpected. We often tell our match officials to expect the unexpected and this is one of those moments.

ARs have to be aware of the potential of this tactic at corner kicks, particularly when there are no defenders on the goal line. On this occasion the correct decision would have been offside.

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