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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33802

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 12/14/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33800

Thanks to Rob for asking this question, as - in my observations - old habits are taking a long time to die off, on off-side calls and their restart placements.

It makes sense that the flag shouldn't go up until the infraction takes place. Like all other fouls/infractions: the free kick should be taken from where the incident occurred. In order to mark that spot accurately, the AR needs leave the former offside line and follow the ball upfield.

In the absence of buzzers or headsets, I feel there should be some hand signals that an AR can give, to communicate to the CR, while moving to follow play.

For example, a one-hand gesture similar to the advantage signal, could indicate: 'this is a legal pass.' Alternatively, running with the flag half-cocked (low, horizontal position) could indicate: 'This is potentially offside. Be ready for me to call it.'

Is there anything to prevent local refs from adopting such signals? (It would have to be clarified in pre-game talks.) Surely, better communications would benefit the game.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Barry,
It's interesting that you raise the 'one arm forwards for a fair pass' - back when I started this was raised as one of the terrible habits some ARs have done that should never be used. So, don't do that - it looks amaetur and it has always been a big no-no. Historically it was also redundant - a 'good pass' was implied by the simple fact of the flag not going up! Any other 'flag forward' signals or some such should simply never be used. As a ref, my view of the AR would always drop a notch or two seeing these signals.

Also, what happens if you were to use that signal, but then the attacker running for the ball pulls away and now the PIOP who was initially running off the ball is now going for it?

I agree that as offside has changed, AR signals haven't evolved to keep up - and now the centre ref not only needs to look over when the ball is played, but again later as attackers approach the ball. That raises its own problems.
Though a lack of signal variety is always a problem for an AR - I mean, a flag raised vertically in the right hand can mean:
- ball is out for an attacking throw
- ball is out for a goal kick
- ball is out for a corner kick
- foul by the defence
- attack has committed an offside infringement
- or some other miscellaneous incident which requires immediate attention by the referee.

Ultimately, it is on the referee to consider the possibility of a delayed flag when the ball is put through and attackers are running onto it - AR just needs to do the job as prescribed and allow the referee to either look at the correct time, or not look and wear the consequences.

If the ref has missed the flag up, don't be afraid to call out to the ref if play is continuing for too long.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The Laws makes reference to the fact that as a general rule, an AR should not use obvious hand signals. However, in some instances, a discreet hand signal may assist the referee. The hand signal should have a clear meaning which should have been agreed in the pre-match discussion.
What that signal might be is questionable. I know some ARs who use the *walk the dog* flag position which denotes clearly NOT offside and maybe the reverse of that might be an option.
I have been caught out a few times on the delayed flag with play deep in my diagonal close to the touchline with the AR not in view. First view of the AR saw no flag, did not look like a potential offside and then looked back to follow play and the flag goes up which is missed.
I think this is reasonably rare and the missed flag usually gets tidied up quite quickly anyway so maybe another discussion item in an already busy prematch might prove cumbersome.
I recently advised a new young AR on the goal signal for a hairline goal where the ball returns to play and it confused him to the point on the first obvious goal that he raised his flag which looked like an offside flag!!
I think the *shout* to the CR on a missed flag is still the best option rather than some sort of signal or gesture. Its a lot easier to explain to an AR. If I miss a flag SHOUT. Others will be shouting soon after it anyway.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
it is not that a hand signal might be useful but I ask you. If the focused CR ALREADY understands offside & thus well aware offside requires INVOLVEMENT by an attacker and when there is involvement the glance over to ascertain the attacker involved is in fact not offside or offside occurs as a matter of NORMAL observation because the CR TRUSTS the AR to also understand offside.

In essence the CR and AR should both be aware of the criteria and ensure that eye contact is maintained is regained in these essential moments.

The SAD part of an early flag if accepted by the CR it kills a possible attack or if that flag COULD be waved of, it influences in players who unfortunately buy into the flag as a reason to stop play then struggle to catch up forgetting there WAS no whistle. .

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