New Offside Rule Interpretation

IFAB has clarified the offside interpretation which the NCAA and NISOA will implement for the 2022 college season. The memo is called, “Clarification of the guidelines to distinguish between ‘deliberate play’ and ‘deflection.’ “

Link to the IFAB memo:

Link to the 12 example videos from IFAB:

Please go through this memo and the sample videos. The more videos you watch and learn from, the easier to interpret this memo.

From a NISOA education standpoint, I want to make two points:

· When it comes to offside position, benefit of the doubt should continue to be given to the attacker. This does not change; if you are unsure or have doubt when it comes to position, leave the flag down. If you are in credible position, you will be supported in your offside decisions when it comes to offside position.

· With this memo, when it comes to a decision of deflection versus deliberate, the benefit of the doubt has shifted to the defense. This was the “a-ha” moment for me and one to keep in mind as you peruse through the 12 videos and the ones below.

Where this IFAB circular was only just released two weeks ago, we are still studying and learning the interpretation and will seek to have more video examples during the season. For now, I will analyze two clips with this new interpretation.

VIDEO #1 – FIU vs. FGCU – Unexpected Ball

In this video, we will explore the concept of an “unexpected ball” that comes to a defender (bullet point #3 in the IFAB circular).

PREVIOUS INTERPRETATION – We said IN THE PAST (previous to two weeks ago) the defender has time and space to react to a ball that is not moving quickly. It would be a deliberate play and therefore, the play would reset and the attacker would not be penalized for offside.

NEW INTERPRETATION – In the photo below, you see a teammate of the defender in close proximity to him and in the path of the ball. He is highlighted with a red arrow.

The teammate lets the ball pass and now the defender has very little time to react to make a deliberate play on the ball (see photo below of the moment the ball deflects off the defender).

Given that this unexpected ball comes to the defender, this would be considered a deflection and the decision on the field should be offside, as the attack was in offside position at the moment the ball was crossed.

VIDEO #2 – BYU vs. Kansas – Instinctive Stretching or Jumping

The next video has two interesting situations. One is an actual offside decision and the other is a “What If” scenario I would like to pose:

First, let’s look at the actual offside call. This one is a deflection both yesterday and today. The distance is short from the attacker to the defender, there is little time to react, and the action of the defender is “instinctive jumping.” See photos below.

Therefore, this would be a deflection and the offside would be penalized.

There is a second situation, we can play “What-If?” Let’s look at the :05 second mark and assume this pass is going to a player in an offside position. Here is the moment of the pass (please also note the stellar referee position 😉:

Here, the defender is not in control of her body as she was moving up field in the opposite direction. While the distance is great and the cross is only with medium pace, the defender must readjust her position and make an “instinctive stretch” for the ball, as you can see highlighted with the fancy and professionally drawn red arrow below:

Because this is an “instinctive stretch” for the ball, this would be considered a deflection and any player in an offside position receiving the ball should be considered offside in this “What-If” scenario.

As the season progresses, we will look to continue to update the NISOA portal and our membership with updated videos and decisions regarding the interpretation of the new offside directive that NCAA and NISOA will use for the 2022 season.

© 2021 NISOA

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