August Bulletin – Day 14

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Game Scenario:

Red are kicking for posts. The ball drifts just wide and a Green player, in the in-goal area, stops it with his foot (making him the ‘kicker’). It bounces up into the arms of another Green player, also in-goal who is in front of him. He kicks it out to end the game. Red players all cry for offside.

This got us scratching our heads on account of whether offside lines apply in the same way in-goal – and whether those laws don’t apply if it comes in the wake of a penalty kick i.e. not normal open play. We couldn’t see anything specific in the laws to address this. So here are a few questions:

a) If the Green player in front of the ‘kicker’ is ALSO in the in-goal area, is he offside when he gathers and kicks it dead, so do you give a penalty kick on the five?

b) If the Green player in front of the ‘kicker’ had been OUTSIDE the in-goal area when he gathered the ball and kicked it dead, is he offside and do you give a penalty kick on the five?

c) Do usual laws apply if the opposition at an attempted kick at goal try to play the ball? For example if the player who stopped the ball with his foot had knocked it on instead, would you award a 5m scrum? Or does that just mark the end of the penalty goal attempt and play continues as if the ball had gone dead straight away, i.e. a 22 drop out?

Society response:

The non-offending side were awarded a penalty kick and took it. Presumably the ball was kicked without further infringement so the PK has been taken and if it hasn’t gone dead from that kick (over the bar, into touch or touch in goal) then it remains in open play. If the ball had fallen short no one would question this now being open play.

Law 10.1 states that any player is offside if he/she is in front of a team mate who last played the ball. The player who used his foot (or any other part of his body) played the ball, therefore a team mate in front of him is not allowed to play the ball without sanction unless he/she first puts him/herself on-side, is put on-side by the action of his/her team mate who played the ball or the action of a team mate who was him/herself originally on-side.

The sanction for offside is a penalty and the nearest a penalty can be awarded to the goal line is 5 metres.

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