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Question Number: 28267

Pre-Game 3/22/2014

RE: 8 Adult

Gavin chadbone of Tamworth, Staffs England asks...

I am about to ref my first cup semi finals and will have appointed linesmen to help out. Could you tell me as a group the sort of things we should be talking about before the game. For example do you assign one of the linesmen to deal with subs etc

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Gavin,

Congratulations for your appointment.

I strongly advise making sure you're also fully aware of the competition rules and any particular rules for semi finals - things have a habit of coming up in finals that don't come up in the regular season.

As for working with assistants - basically, the prematch discussion should cover anything that could potentially lead to a situation where your AR isn't sure what you expect from them.

As for substitutions, usually they're both on one side (and you'll put your more senior AR on that side), so he'll deal with the subs. Is it limited subs? If so you'll want that AR to signal for the sub if he sees the player is ready, then run to halfway to administer the substitution (unless he's some distance and you're there). If it's unlimited interchange, you may not want to do this if he's more than 10 or so yards away unless the players aren't doing the subs properly.

Other things to cover may include
-your expectation with offsides, and fouls. Some referees vary in how much responsibility they give the AR's, or in what sort of situations. What should they do if you miss their signal? How will you signal them to drop the flag if you disagree? What about certain situations, like a potential 50-50 with a keeper from an offside player?
-throw ins - I always advise my AR's to look at me first to see if I'm making a clear decision from something I've seen. If possible give a discrete signal as the ball is about to go out by keeping the flag beside the body on the particular side first, so you both know what the decision will be before it's signalled. Usually you'll want the AR to watch the feet and you'll watch the arms
-what do you want them to do if there's a mass confrontation? Come on the field? Form a triangle and record events? Do you want AR1 to stay on his line to manage the technical areas?
-How do you want them to signal a penalty kick? Encroachment at the penalty? A goal in a ball over-the-line-then-back-out scenario? whether it's a DFK or PK when you award it just on the edge of the PA?
-What are the rules for behaviour and personnel in the Technical Area, and how do you want the AR to manage that?
-If you're writing something down, which AR do you want to write - near or far? You never want all 3 of you with your heads down!
-Even make sure you have the prematch routine worked out. Where will you do the equipment inspection? Take both AR's with you. Make sure they know where you want them after the coin toss and after half time (eg to run up and check the nets, then to their position).
-How do you want them to get your attention if they need to advise you of something of concern?

Some of those things are fairly standard, yet it's still good to make expectations clear. Some have had different approaches over the years, so referees of varying experience levels may have different approaches, so the prematch chat ensures everybody is on the same page. Different areas tend to do things differently. The prematch inspection ensures the 3 of you are a team and that neither of you misread each other's signals, or that the AR isn't standing on the line at a certain situation thinking 'I have no idea how to communicate what's happened to the ref, or even if he wants me to'

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gavin
You will find Referee Gil Weber's excellent advice on this subject at this link

Pick out the parts that you believe to be relevant to your game. Now one of the challenges facing referees at a final is not to make it so complicated that they stop doing what they normally do in regular games. A final is another game albeit with more at stake. Its still just a game like many of the other important games that a referee has officiated. Also ARs are not going to remember many points from the pre game discussion. You hope that they are experienced enough to know the 'bread and butter items' Highlight the big tickets items that you want the ARs to focus on such as the instructions on offside and ball in and out of play. I also give advice on how I want penalty decision decided on.
As regards the assigning of sides for the ARs, if it not already decided by the League, then the referee should appoint to the most senior official to be on the technical area side whose responsibility is to look after the substitutions and the technical area.
Best of luck with it

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