Rooney in offside position but not interfering with play

Rooney in offside position, so shouldn’t the Manchester United goal not be cancelled? My twitter account @DutchReferee exploded last night when I posted a tweet that Phil Dowd correctly allowed the goal Manchester United goal against Preston North End in the FA Cup. 62 retweets and 17 favorites (and still counting).

In this case study I will explain why the referee has made the right call – based on the Laws of the Game.

Before you read my explanation, check the situation in the video below. If it starts at the beginning, buffer to 2 mins and 48 seconds and click play. Herrera scores and pay close attention to Wayne Rooney close to the goalie.

Explanation of offside situation

First thing to determine: Is Rooney in offside position? Yes, he is. But the Laws of the Game also add to that: “It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.”

Second thing is to determine if Rooney should be penalised for it. Three criteria to determine if Rooney is in active play are:

  1. Is he interfering with play?
  2. This means touching or playing the ball according to Fifa. That’s not the case here. Rooney did not touch the ball.

  3. Is he gaining an advantage by being in that position
  4. You should think of passing/playing a ball after it bounced back from a goalie or goalpost. That’s not the case here, because Herrera shot the ball directly into the net and Rooney did not pass/play it.

  5. Is he interfering with an opponent
  6. The last criterium is most important here. And the most crucial part is the change of the Laws of the Game before the start of the 2014/2015 season. Based on the video we can say Rooney is NOT preventing an opponent from playing, he is not challenging an opponent (no one near him) and he is not blocking the line of vision for the goalie. The goalie can see the ball all the time. Fifa removed the part where offside should be penalised when a player makes a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

If that latter was still in the Laws of the Game, the assistant referee should have flagged for offside. Now Phil Dowd and his team made the right call.

Share your thoughts

Please let me know what you think. Should the offside law be reviewed and what needs to change in your opinion?

I’d prefer a test game where you can’t be in an offside position as a player. Let’s do that and see how it goes. What are your thoughts on that?

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