Video Instruction – Deliberate or Deflection
NCAA Soccer Rule 11.3.3 states that a player shall not be declared offside if the player receives the ball from a deliberate play from a defender. Rule 188.8.131.52 states that a “deliberate act is one in which a player chooses to act, regardless of the outcome of that action. This deliberate act is neither a reaction nor reflex. A deliberate action may result in the opponent benefiting from the action.”
Judging whether the defender makes a deliberate play on the ball requires both the referee and the assistant referee to pay close attention and be prepared to make the correct decision. Should the attacker who scored the goal be penalized for offside?
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NISOA Official Decision
Here are the most up to date considerations of Deliberate Play vs Deflection:
DELIBERATE PLAY vs DEFLECTION
Player goes to play the ball => ACTION - Conscious
Control of the body (Not the outcome of the action).
Ball goes to the player => REACTION - Instinctive.
NO Options, surprised, unexpected.
NO Control of the body.
Never expect players doing nothing.
This is a great example of a deliberate play... an action, which is a conscious decision to play the ball.
As opposed to a deflection... a reaction, which is more of an instinctual decision to play the ball.
This ball comes from distance and the player has clear sight of the ball which makes this an expected ball, and she has control of her body.
NISOA DECISION: NOT OFFSIDE
Deliberate Play vs. Deflection must be covered during the pregame discussion amongst the crew.
If electronic communication devices are used, the referee needs to be proactive by saying "Defender, Defender, Defender" as the ball is played by the defender in order to immediately provide the crucial information to the Assistant Referee so he/she can appropriately keep the flag down. The Assistant Referee can help by providing information by saying "Position #11, Position #11, Position #11" to alert the referee of an attacker in an offside position near play.
If the Referee does not communicate this information, the Assistant Referee should stand at attention (with the flag down) if he/she is not clear who last deliberately played the ball and then must beckon the referee over to have a discussion of who last deliberately played the ball before a final decision can be made. It is imperative for this conversation to occur between the Referee and Assistant Referee in order to obtain all the necessary information in order to accurately decide on whether or not a legal goal was scored.
If electronic communication devices are not available for use, the Assistant Referee should stand at attention if he/she is not clear on who last deliberately played the ball and then must beckon the referee over to have a discussion of who last deliberately played the ball before a final decision can be made.
If the Assistant Referee incorrectly raises the flag to indicate offside and the goal is scored, the Referee must go over to the Assistant Referee and have a discussion before a final decision can be made.