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Question Number: 30335

Pre-Game 4/24/2016

RE: Rec Adult

Brett of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

Hi all,
I have a question about mechanics and teamwork with new assistant referees.

I have recently started refereeing matches with new assistant referees, who have assistant refereed a few matches. In these matches I have had a number of occasions during which I have had to overrule assistants for decisions.

I have had to overrule an assistants for a number of throw-ins and goal kick/corner kick decisions. I also had to overrule them for an offside decision (interpretation, not the players positioning). And in one match several handballs.

Following one match, I was approached at half-time by a coach (who I know and respect) who argued that: 'you have to listen to your assistants otherwise there is no point in them being here and they'll feel there is no point trying for you.' He pointed to a couple of examples when I overruled my assistants and gave a decision against his team (conveniently leaving out instances when I overruled assistant referees and gave his team the call).

I'm aware I have the right to overrule assistants and that their job is just to assist. I take responsibility for all their decisions, even when I disagree, but don't want to making calls I feel are wrong.

But I think the coach does have a reasonable point, although I don't remember feeling demoralized or ignored by referees overruling me as an AR, I imagine this could be the case. And I really don't want to be having this effect. Also, it clearly reduces their authority, if I'm constantly having to overrule them, and is thus bad for the match.

I discuss 'ghosting' in my prematch, and it works well for more experienced ARs, but I find it too much for less experienced ones.

I also have instructions about calling fouls and have reduced the responsibility of ARs who are inexperienced. I also mention waving them down and that they shouldn't be concerned if I do it.

My question is what else should I do to improve my teamwork with in experienced assistant referees? How often should I overrule them? And where should I draw the line between their authority and self-esteem, and making the decisions I feel to be best?

Many thanks for this wonderful site.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brett
The key here is whether the correct decisions are being made or not. I believe the key to this is training and the pre match discussion.
There are decisions that ARs probably should not be making. If the referee is clearly looking at an offence and decides that it is not a foul then the AR should not be flagging. If the CR has to overrule on say deliberate handling then the CR has seen the offence and the AR has to recognise that the referee has seen the incident. ARs should only be focussing on unseen offences not the ones in full view of the referee. Good eye contact is important n these instances
In respect of offside that is a training process. ARs should be advised when it is appropriate to flag for offside which will result in less times being waved down on incorrectly interpretations. Now ARs are best placed to view the offside line. The difficult ones are holding back flagging early on a clear PIOP. Now if an AR gets it plainly wrong then there is no choice but to overrule. That though causes match control issues as teams may stop for the flag. That though happens at all levels including the experienced top class officials. See video around 4.01. Referee sees that the ball is played by Green not Blue so it cannot be offside.
On throw ins ARs should be following the CR in his half and if he is unsure then look for guidance from the CR. Many times there is an eagerness by inexperienced official for a quick early flag. ARs should be told to be slow with the signals and to make eye contact with the CR on doubtful ones.
Finally I think that it is all part of learning. I have had wave downs, got directions wrong and also CR in my opinion stuffed up by waving me down or overruling. Nothing focuses the mind better than getting a call *wrong*

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