Background of the Law 11
The changes to the Law 11 in 2005 stated that referees had to wait till the ball is played. The idea was great and benefited referees, but the downside was that it created situations where the players, the team officials and the spectators were frustrated by the obvious calls coming very late.
So one step was taken back and an addition was added that the referee needs to wait and see that no other attacker has the chance to play the ball and that the ball is not going out of play.
The referees were again asked to make optimal decisions at optimal times. The emotional reactions and having doubt in the late calls drove the assistants to be a bit hasty.
The 2013 changes to the Law 11 again benefit the referees. Though the Law does not say so explicitly, referees now have to wait for deliberate play or challenging an opponent as well!
Offside Explained verdict:
The optimal time to raise the flag differs and depends on the situation and the referees inner feeling about the Law. The feeling develops with experience.
Points to decide upon:
- the team-mates chances of playing the ball
- the defenders chances of playing the ball without being challenged
- the chance of the ball clearly leaving the field of play
- the attacker showing full commitment to go and play the ball
Points 1, 2 and 3 allow the flag to be raised at slide number three. The attacker shows full commitment to play the ball between 3 & 4.
So by slide nr FOUR there is every reason to raise the flag.
When the ball is traveling a long time and a long distance, is chased by the attacker and could just maybe leave the field of play (like in the given example) then it is not necessary to wait for the ball to leave the field of play - keep it simple! Everybody will understand and accept it. There will be a big frustration when you finally raise the flag 1 meter before the goal line.
Basically - raise the flag when it is expected and when it cannot be wrong. Be calm, not eager!