Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 29971

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 12/5/2015

RE: Competive Adult

Alan Wallace of Leeming, WA Australia asks...

If the linesman accidentally enters the field of play and the ball touches him, is he an outside influence.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Alan,
no the AR is not an outside agent, the ARs and referee are part of the match conditions, moving posts as it were, as such it is mandated in the LOTG when the ball is in play and the ball rebounds off of them and stays in play, play simply continues. I have seen a perfectly good goal scored off a referee who deflected a ball into goal by being in a bad position on a cross. It is too late to blow a whistle once that occurred.

This is contrary to the stated LOTG but if one considers the AR has created a huge unfair advantage for one team, it is possible the whistle could sound as a matter of fairness in the Spirit of fair play to prevent an injustice or simply to avoid mass confusion.. In such a rare case the restart would be a drop ball. This also applies if either the AR or CR was to be injured in a collision with the ball.

A few years ago in a u-18 match I was the CR, the inexperienced AR used his hand to stop a ball that was headed out into touch but it fell back off the hand back into the field without FULLY exiting the FOP. Technically the ball was still in play and the attacker close by was onside and had an excellent opportunity to dribble in on the goal. The AR had incorrectly, if with good intentions, had tried to stop the ball from going way out into the bush. I awarded a drop ball and had a quiet word with the AR to let the players chase the ball and to stay a bit further back off the touch lines! I was also pleased that when I explained to the two teams what had occurred. The defenders, who had been the ones to kick the ball out, took the drop ball alone! Then kicked the ball back out for the attackers to take the throw in, albeit a bit further up the field ! lol
In another incident the referee in tournament play, took a hard clearance into the side of the head and collapsed onto the ground stunned. The concerned defender went to the referee to see if he was ok as an attacker was trying to kick the ball into the goal. The Near AR was running in shouting to stop play. Thankfully the attacker did not score otherwise it could have been very messy. While the LOTG are clear sometimes the spirit of those laws are not lost on those playing!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Richard,

The Laws of the Game specifically state:

'If, when the ball is in play, it touches the referee or an assistant referee who
is temporarily on the field of play, play continues because the referee and the
assistant referees are part of the match.'

Regardless of the impact upon the match, play should continue if it strikes the Assistant Referee.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alan
An AR is just like the referee in that if the ball hits him play continues. Does it happen. Well yes despite ARs being told to stay behind the line so that if the ball hits them it is already out of play.
In the Championship game at the weekend between Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough the AR while running had to turn to see a ball swirl above his head in the strong wind. He lost his direction and came on to the FOP by a yard or so. The ball was kicked out past him for a throw in. Now he could smile at the time as the ball did not touch him and he had no influence on same. Had he touched it play would continue.
Now the best advice is prevention is better than cure and ARs should do their upmost to avoid the ball. Even when the ball is out of play the wise AR will ignore the ball. Certainly at the highest level ARs will try not to touch the ball. Perhaps in a low level game and the ball is going to go a distance out of play an AR might let the ball *hit him* to stop it. It certainly should not deliver a benefit to the throwing team nor should it distract the AR from focusing on the FOP.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 29971
Read other Q & A regarding Law 6 - Assistant Referee

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>