Was it Offside or Not? The Case of K-Sharks vs AFC LeopardsSeptember 22, 2018
I came across a tweet by the Kariobangi Sharks Official Twitter Account, @K-SharksFC, that piqued my interest. It was a video of the highlights of their 3-1 win over AFC Leopards in a KPL game played on Tuesday, 18th September in Machakos. My immediate thoughts at that time were leaning on how KPL teams were finally taking advantage of the digital platforms (e.g Twitter) to share content and reach a wider audience. However, as I watched the highlights, I noticed something that was obviously.. er.. off.
— Kariobangi Sharks FC (@k_sharksfc) September 19, 2018
Can you notice it?
Kariobangi Sharks second goal, scored by Duke Abuya, looked to be a blatant offside that was not flagged by the linesman. What’s worse? The linesman seemed to be in a great position to see that Duke was at least 5 yards ahead of the last AFC defender.
As someone with plenty of pettiness, I commented on the @K-SharksFC tweet saying, “The most obvious and blatant offside decision call that wasn’t made by the linesman, who is perfectly positioned to see your striker was at least 5 yards off”. What followed, naturally, was an internet argument with strangers.
The most obvious and blatant offside decision call that wasn't made by the linesman, who is perfectly positioned to see your striker was at least 5 yards off. pic.twitter.com/XjR4mSMqk0
— Janmaat (@DerylAduda) September 19, 2018
Law 11 of Association Football covers Offsides in detail. However, the law is still one of the most contested aspects of the modern game. This is because its interpretation has been largely left to match officials. Hence the application can vary from one game to the other. In this case, a Sharks player shoots the ball towards goal, the ball is deflected off a Leopards defender straight to David who was already in an offside position (he was closer to the goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent i.e the AFC defenders )
Contention then comes in because of the last “touch” by the AFC defender. I genuinely believe that the officials did not whistle for offside because they saw the deflection off the AFC defender and decided that he played Duke Abuya onside.
Just one problem though, a deflection off a defender would not be considered a touch. A touch would be, for example, a deliberate pass by a defender to an attacker, or a scuffed clearance by a defender that falls to an attacker. A deflection however cannot be considered as such. Thus the last play would be the shot taken by the Sharks player.
Law 11 makes this clear. A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by, and this is the most relevant section, gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar, match official or an opponent.
I absolutely love the fact that Kariobangi Sharks Goalkeeper is called Gad Mathews. Also, hats off to Sharks for holding their own in the KPL. They deserve nothing else but respect.
[Feature Image: @K_SharksFC]