The Assistant Referees
ASSISTANCE BY THE AR
During a corner kick, an opposing team player grabs the goalie and prevents him from reaching an air ball, and consequently a goal is scored. The referee misses the infraction but the linesman does see it...Can the linesman lift the flag and consult with the referee about the infraction? Can the scoring call be recalled?
Answer (April 29, 2003):
"Linesmen" are now called assistant referees.
Law 6 indicates that one of the duties of the assistant referee is to signal when a violation of the Law occurs out of the view of the referee. USSF training of assistant referees emphasizes, however, that they should not signal at all for fouls or misconduct that clearly occur in the sight of the referee, that are doubtful or trifling, or for which the referee would likely have applied advantage. Such events can be brought to the attention of the referee at a stoppage of play.
As for the goal, if the game has not been restarted since the goal was scored, the goal may be nullified. If the game has been restarted, then the goal may not be nullified.
AR AND ADVANTAGE
Can the AR invoke the advantage clause as outlined in Law 5?
Answer (September 9, 2003):
The assistant referee (AR) may not and cannot invoke the advantage clause. That is reserved solely for the referee. However, the concept of advantage is used by the AR in deciding whether to give a signal in the first place. The AR should make use of the advantage concept as part of his duty under Law 6 to signal for infringements occurring out of the view of the referee. While not a formal "call" and with no signal as such, ARs should keep the flag down even for violations out of the referee's view IF the referee would likely have applied advantage if he had seen it (or likewise, in the alternative, would have considered the violation trifling).
AR POSITION FOR PENALTY KICKS
Over the years, I have been taught to position myself behind the Corner Flag, looking down the Goal Line, rather than the prescribed position at the intersection of the Penalty Area Line and the Goal Line. The rationale was this position gave the appropriate view of ball over goal line, goalkeeper movement and did not place the Assistant Referee on the field of play and, potentially in the midst of active play, while attempting to return to the appropriate offside position.
What is the advantage of the position at the intersection of the Penalty Area Line and the Goal Line, and is there any discussion about changing to the position at the corner flag?
Answer (April 8, 2004):
The correct position for assistant referees (ARs) on penalty kicks is delineated in the USSF publication "Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials," which can be downloaded from this URL: http://www.ussoccer.com/Referees/Resource-Center/Zone-1.aspx
The AR is encouraged to enter the field, when necessary, and upon direction of the referee. See Law 6 [updated]:
"The assistant referees also assist the referee to control the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game. In particular, they may enter the field of play to help control the 9.15 m (10 yds) distance."
Being nearer to the penalty kick allows the AR to help control the match, observe the goalkeeper, and other duties as assigned by the referee. Being nearer to the goal than the corner flag at a penalty kick increases the ability of the AR to provide critical information to the referee regarding whether a goal was scored-given the circumstances of the penalty kick, the chances are greater that a cunning goalkeeper might attempt to hide the scoring of a goal by quickly and surreptitiously pulling the ball back onto the field.
There is absolutely no discussion about changing the AR's position at the penalty kick to the area of the corner flag. Please bring this information to the attention of those who have taught you incorrectly over the years.
RELIEVING/REMOVING THE AR
In Law 6 it is stated that "In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve an assistant referee of his duties and make a report to the proper authorities."
Under what obviously extreme circumstances would constitute relieving an assistant referee?
At a recent tournament an assistant referee made numerous outrageously derogatory comments to coaches about his colleague with the whistle. Would such (in my opinion) unethical and unprofessional behavior justify relieving an assistant referee?
What about very poor performance on the part of an assistant referee?
(Interestingly enough, after the match referred to, a heated confrontation arose between coaches, players, and the referee team. Three coaches were expelled and 2 send off's were issued after the final whistle.)
Answer (June 29, 2004):
We would be hard put to define all the possible reasons for dispensing with the services of an assistant referee, but you have done pretty well on your own. Any unethical behavior by the AR would suffice, including making derogatory comments about the referee. The referee might also consider simply consistently poor decisions to be sufficient reason.
How should a referee handle the situation where there is some doubt in the calls that the AR is making? If the AR is continually waived off, they could shut down and not call anything. There seems to be a fine balance in maintaining the cohesiveness of the referee team.
Answer (May 8, 2008):
You don't tell us what your instructions to the assistant referees were before the game, so we cannot be certain whether or not this AR knew what was expected of her. As leader of the officiating team, the referee must establish during the pregame conference how the team will work and cooperate. If this is not done, then we can expect nothing but problems as the ARs fill the gap in the instructions by inventing their own. Did you attempt to make any adjustments during the halftime break? One way might have been to suggest to the AR that she should remember the requirements of the various Laws, such as active involvement for offside or position of the feet in Law 15 and not be overly picky.
Finally, you need to remember that part of what you said about offside is not quite correct: Although the AR is in the best position (usually) to judge offside POSITION, it is the referee who must make the final decision regarding offside INVOLVEMENT and this decision falls more heavily on the referee's shoulders the farther away the play is from the AR.
If all else fails, then the final paragraph of Law 6 gives you all the information you need for such cases:
"In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve an assistant referee of his duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities."
AR SEES WHAT REFEREE DID NOT
If an assistant referee witnesses a foul but does not call it because "he is not closer to the foul than the center ref" and the center ref does not call it, should the assistant notify the center as to what he saw or let the play continue?
Answer (April 8, 2010):
"Closer to the offense" is much less important than angle of view. If the referee cannot see the offense because his or her view is blocked, and the assistant referee can see the event clearly, then the AR must flag if the there is a definite foul or misconduct.
In this year's copy of the Laws you will find this excerpt in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game, under Law 6:
Before signaling for an offense, the assistant referee must determine that:
* the offense occurred closer to the assistant referee than to the referee (this applies, in certain circumstances, to offenses committed in the penalty area)
* the offense was out of the view of the referee or the referee's view was obstructed
* the referee would not have applied advantage if he had seen the offense