As of July 1, 2013 there has been some slight changes to the LOTG – the most contentious change being to the interpretation to Law 11 – Offside. As this conundrum has been widely discussed and debated already on other forums, I highly recommend and urge you to view the discussion on the Soccer Referee USA blog, here.
This post is merely an extension to that discussion, as well as, my own issues with the change.
Personally, I feel like the changes are causing more confusion, rather than creating clarity as it was designed to do. My biggest beef is with regards to the discussion around deliberately playing the ball. Specifically these 2 clips:
In this first clip, we are being told that since the player deliberately went out of his way to attempt to play the ball, and even though he was unsuccessful, he is still deliberately playing the ball which therefore, negates the offside and the attacking player is not penalized.
So what’s the difference in the second clip then??? The rationale being given by the powers that be is as follows (and I quote directly from Jose Maria Garcia-Aranda’s website):
“When the ball is played by the attacker, the defender cannot see it and he suddenly finds the ball coming against him. He tries to play it instinctively and this cannot be considered as a deliberate act. Therefore, the ball is deflected only and the attacker who receives the ball (being initially in an offside position) must be penalised.”
I’m sorry, but I completely disagree! Luckily we have the added value of watching this play in slow motion. As the ball is being kicked by the first attacker, and as it approaches the defender, the defender does NOT flinch in an instinctive motion to kick the ball because it’s coming at him quickly or because he can’t see it. Rather, if you watch the clip carefully, the defender deliberately motions his foot towards the ball to kick it and follows through. A deflection is exactly that – there is no intent to play the ball when there’s a deflection…the ball just deflects off a part of the body – head, thigh, shin, etc. In my opinion, the defender clearly made an attempt to deliberately play the ball and clear it out of the penalty area. What other reason does he have for kicking, or attempting to kick the ball in that manner? There is no reason for the follow through if he wasn’t intentionally kicking the ball….sorry…deliberately playing the ball. If there was a deflection, it would look more like this:[youtube:http://youtu.be/8kMUZOOJlIo%5D
THAT is what a deflection looks like…not like someone kicking a ball…badly…and missing/failing in his attempt!
So again, I ask…what is the difference in the 2 clips? This blind mouse honestly doesn’t think that there is one! Both clips are examples of deliberately playing the ball and therefore, as per the new interpretations, the attacker should not be penalized. Either FIFA and IFAB need to re-think their interpretation, or grasp a better understand of the English language and learn what the word deflection actually means! Sorry Mr. Aranda!!! This change to Law 11 does nothing but make referee’s jobs even harder, not easier…and it sure as HELL does NOT provide for greater consistency and clarity as to how Law 11 should be applied. FIFA wanted to discuss how to clarify and eliminate confusion? Well FIFA…consider this a job NOT well done! If you thought Law 11 was particularly technical and difficult for referees BEFORE you made these changes, good luck with getting that “greater consistency and clarity as to how Law 11 should be applied” now that it’s even MORE difficult and unclear.
Be ready for a season of dissent, swearing, and nothing but grief…especially when you’re an AR!
The Third Blind Mouse