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Question Number: 30781

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 9/18/2016

RE: Travel Under 17

Louis Scheffer of Ashburn, VA United States asks...

About 2 hours ago I had an incident with a center referee.
The game was a Travel u14 game mid division game. I was on a game with myself as an AR, another AR and a Center. At the end of the game, I saw a handball on the other side of the field in or around the penalty box. I believed that the center referee was not in a position to see the handball. The other AR was in a position to maybe see the handball, she says she saw it. The AR did not raise her flag and the center did not stop play or give any indication that he saw it. The play was almost definitely a handball, given the time to react, the position of the hand, the age level, and the competition level. The opposing coach was livid that a handball was not called, and his team was already down on a questionable PK call (I will mention it later). The referee did not even turn and look at me, even though I was waving my flag as hardly as possible. The game then ended right then and there. The opposing coach was arguing that he did not look at me. The center referee, then came and asked me if I called a handball (not really sure why he phrased it this way, as I was trying to tell him to call it) I told him yes, and after we shook hands with the teams, he then preceded to yell at me for about 3 minutes, for trying to call something on the other side of the field. He stated that it was not in my area (I'm assuming he was talking about in my area of the diagonal system of control), and that no referee in the history of soccer ever called something on the other side of the field... ever. He also stated that all I was doing was causing confusion, and that my job was to advise him. I listened to him for about 2 minutes before he even let me say a word. I said to him that I believed that the play was out of his vision and that it was my duty as an AR to try to alert him to anything I believed he couldn't see. I also said it was my duty to help him make the right call, and that I believed I had the best view of the play.

We then went our separate ways, after I told him that we disagreed and that he couldn't change that. On the way out the other AR told me that she saw the handball, but thought the center saw it too.

Earlier in the game there was also another incident, where a player was on a fast break, and got taking down near the edge of the box. The center signaled for a penalty kick, I waved him over because I thought the contact was initiated outside of the box, and I was in a better position to make that judgement. I told him that I thought the contact was outside of the box, and he just told me 'It's my game, I called a PK' Based on the what he said and the way he said and how he said it, it sounded like he put his pride, in front of getting the call right. This situation while I know is less important I thought that maybe I should include it.

I am 14 and the center ref was around 40-50 the other AR was around my age. I want to tell my assigner, but I also don't want this to turn into a my word vs his word, cause I feel like I would lose.
What Should I do.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Louis
Thanks for sharing your experience. First off the CR should not be yelling at anyone least his ARs. We all know that being an assistant can be difficult at times. The ARs role is to assist and there are some unwritten rules in the diagonal system of control. Those rules can be spelled out by the referee in his pre match instruction. For example CRs might say that they only want ARs giving fouls in their vicinity which at most is 10/15 yards. Outside that many feel that it is just not credible. The CR might also say that on a fast break with him out of position that the area of control can widen. Also when play is on the opposite diagonal it is clearly up to the referee to get close to the play to make the call. When the ball is in the other half between the CR and the AR then it is up to both to make the calls not the trail AR. I have seen plenty of situations over the years as trail AR that I did not agree with or seen possible fouls outside my area of control. Many years ago I saw a similar situation to your with neither the AR nor CR willing to give the penalty. I think both wanted the other to make the call. As trail AR I just stood there and told them afterwards that I thought it was deliberate handling. Now there was no way I was signalling for it as the instructions to me were clear even if not given. I also had an incident that stuck out in my mind of a waved down flag on a foul in my vicinity in a particular game. It was certainly a foul and the referee was looking at it. I was berated by two players for the flag after the CR waved it down. A few weeks later in similar circumstances with the same referee again a stonewall foul with the referee well positioned I kept the flag down when there was no call. As it happened at the end of the game the iplayer came to me who I knew about not flagging as I made my way to the CR and I told him it was the CRs call to make as he was looking at it with as good a view as myself. Most times the CR only wants violent conduct outside areas of control in such circumstances reported to him which does include the 4th official.
In respect of the penalty call I tell ARs that if I signal a foul and it is tight on the line then I will make eye contact if it is outside and to stand and take a step to the left if it is outside and if it is a penalty to move to the AR penalty location. If I am sure then I will award the penalty so go to the AR penalty location.
In the Hull City v Arsenal game there was a penalty call against Arsenal. The referee waved it away and I believe he clearly saw it. His lead AR then signalled for the penalty which was given. I am not sure the CR wanted the flag yet he took it which was probably from an experienced AR. It would have been interesting to hear the discussion in the changing room afterwards.
Summary to all that is that it is the referees game to call. To quote my colleague Referee Dawson His game, His call, His reputation. He needs assistance with offside, ball in and out of play and fouls unseen by him in the ARs vicinity due to the diagonal system of patrol. AR should concentrate on their responsibilities and if the CR looks for assistance then provide it. On matters of opinion with the CR clearly looking at it then it is his call to make. I have never been berated for the referees performance only my own so my team effort is to the outmost to get my calls correct and to follow the referees instructions.
As regards what to do next. I would put it down to a learning experience and next time ask the CR for clear instructions in the pre match as to what he wants from ARs particularly when it is not proffered.
I hope that helps.

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