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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 28770

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 9/22/2014

RE: Competitive Under 15

Aaron Speca of Virginia Beach, VA United States asks...

This question is more about communication between the officials and the responsibility of the AR.

In this play, #7 white is clearly offsides and the AR on the far side raises his flag, and snaps it to get the referee's attention (spotlighted). The referee never turns to acknowledge the AR, and never waves it off. The AR seems to simply decide as play moves on to lower the flag. White team ends up getting a decent scoring chance as the play progresses. Isn't it the responsibility of the AR to maintain the flag until acknowledged by the referee to either blow the whistle or wave the flag off? And does the AR on the near side have any role to play, if he sees the flag on the other side is up and the center ref hasn't seen it?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Aaron
good of you to use the site again Always interesting to hear from you. In fact I want to contact you directly regarding your abilities to place video on the internet and have us access it. I will contact you via Mrref ASAP.

In answer to your question
Yes and no.
The AR is instructed to raise the flag when they are 100% sure offside involvement has occurred and to keep the flag raised until the play is stopped or the referee has waved it down

In lower divisions of soccer, good intentions aside by all who participate, great communication skills are not in evidence a great deal of the time! To provide an out the AR is instructed if a flag goes unnoticed and play has continued once the offended team has clear ball control and possession, to lower the flag !

You are correct . The opposing AR who is looking across to the AR with the flag raised could mirror that signal and point over to the other AR if the referee stops play to deal with their flag being up. That said if the referee is blissfully unaware of his surroundings then both ARs drop the flag once the offended team has clear ball control and possession.

The AR did drop the flag once the ball was initially cleared but I grant you it was not a real great attempt and possession was somewhat in doubt so it would not have been incorrect to keep that flag raised indicating play needed to be stopped for the earlier offside involvement.

So when are you taking the referee course ???

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Aaron
Interesting question and video and there are a number of important points here
1. Was there an offside here? I'm not sure looking at the video and it looks doubtful. Perhaps the AR on immediate reflection changed his mind in which case dropping the flag was the 'best' decision in the circumstances.
2. If there was a certain offside then the flag should be maintained as there was no clear advantage here to the Blues. Had the ball been cleared away over half way by Blues then the pre match advice might be to drop the flag when it is unseen otherwise the AR should keep it up. The trail AR should mirror the unseen flag.
3. Poor positioning by CRs cause the problem of unseen flags. In this case the CR needed to turn his body 90 degrees opening up his view of the AR. Now that is not possible all the time as we do sometimes get drawn into poor positions. Getting wide can pose a problem particularly if there is poor mobility.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


Let me state the instructions I give to A/Rs regarding offside.

First of all, wait, wait and see if the player is to be penalized forbeing in that position. If sure that he was 'active', raise the flag and STAY THERE until:
1. The ref blows the whistle, at which point signal near side, middle or far side
2. The ref waves you off
3. The defenders gain possession and it has become irrelevant
4. If you see the A/R raise the flag on the other side and the ref has not noticed it, raise you flag to relay the signal

So let's say a goal is scored. The A/R should steadfastly stay with is flag up all the while looking at the ref for a signal to him of some sort. This is very hard to do for a young A/R when working with an older ref but nonetheless he should stick to his guns. Once the flag is raised you should not overrule yourself without the ref's permission, or if defenders gain possession. If you do, you open yourself to criticism.

What I think happened here was the ref did not notice the signal, did not communicate and the A/R mistakenly did not stick by his decision. But I would have to see the video.

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Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

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