Anyone watching the Netherlands v Italy match in Euro 2008 saw a Netherland’s goal allowed that seemed to be offside – except there was an Italian defender out of bounds behind the end line. So many wondered if that player factored into any offside decision. The answer is Yes. The question was did he leave the field of play without permission and stay there. Here is a quote from the USSF Advice to Referees, Section 11.11:
“A defender who leaves the field during the course of play and does not immediately return must still be considered in determining where the second to last defender is for the purpose of judging which attackers are in an offside position. Such a defender is considered to be on the touch line or goal line closest to his or her off-field position. A defender who leaves the field with the referee’s permission (and who thus requires the referee’s permission to return) is not included in determining offside position.”
Since the player did not leave with permission (an injured player is given permission to leave and be tended to), he was part of the play and put the attacking player onside.
Why would I bring this obscure point up? Because a bunch of people are curious, given my search stats for today…
So I figured I’d post the answer people were looking for. Hat Tip to winchester73 and the other folks discussing this at the NC Soccer Forum.