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Question Number: 34206

Mechanics 4/25/2021

RE: Pro Adult

Crebs Crem of Zagreb , Croatia asks...

As far as I know, when an infringement happens prior to a goal, penalty kick or denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, video assistant referee can only intervene if the infringement is in the attacking phase of play that lead to the goal, penalty or DOGSO. Is this rule also valid for the assistant referees on the side-line and the fourth official? For example an infringement by red team happens, but blue team maintains possession, after a while red team re-gains possession and scores a goal. In this case, would it be wrong if the fourth official or assistant referees on the side-line intervenes and warn the head referee about the infringement which happened before the goal scored but not in the attacking phase of play?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
It all depends on what the infringement was and how it came about. It does not necessarily have to be part of an attacking phase as I can think of a few instances where the referee can take advice from another match official or VAR such as unseen violent conduct by the scoring team or the scoring team having an extra player on the field of play. There are no doubt other such situations such as the ball being out of play with a missed flag.
In the case of VAR the term attacking phase is used to prevent the game having to brought back to an earlier phase of play for an unseen infringement that bears little or no connection with a goal. VAR overarching theme is "Minimum interference, Maximum benefit" so the game does not want match officials to be going back to look at something unconnected with a goal, a penalty, a red card or mistaken identity. It is not there to change the way the game is officiated yet as a tool to assist referees in the big ticket items as set out in the protocol.

For the vast majority of the game VAR will never be a factor.
If a referee has missed a flag by an assistant then he can go back to that situation if it was made by the scoring team or if say the ball was out of play. Otherwise if a match official has not brought something to the referees attention close to when it happened and seen by both there is no second guessing or going back. It does not happen like that and if an AR has not felt it necessary to signal to the CR then the game moves on.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Crebs,
given the high level of technology at the elite level almost any important point is flowing over the airways within seconds. If not verbal over the radio then buzzers on the arms. It is more likely at the grassroots for delays of information to create issues! "Minimum interference, Maximum benefit" is actually a very good analogy of what the effort is behind the use of VAR even if it not 100% effective. The possession aspect might rule out some reasons to stop play as having no effect on the match itself but something like the Zidane incident cannot be ignored. The key point here is NO restart in between the goal and the missed incident. In the Zidane incident, they did a drop ball because a quick free kick had already occurred! The play was stopped for an injury in that case. Be interesting if VAR had been on back then at what time would or could play have been halted??

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Crebs,
I think you're comparing apples and oranges. What VAR does in going back to check for previous infringements in certain specified scenarios and what an assistant referee should do when they see an infringement are two different things.

Now, there is a slight overlap from VAR into the AR's procedures in that when there is a very clear attacking opportunity that could lead to a goal and the offence (usually offside, but not necessarily) is not clear, the AR may delay the flag. However in all other situations, the AR should flag immediately, whenever they see an infringement that requires it. If there is no comms equipment in use and referee does not notice the flag, the AR should maintain the flag until they can get the referee's attention.

So if the game is not one where VAR is in use and even then, in every case except the ones specified in law, there should be no reason to be going back to previous incidents - the AR should take the proper action immediately on the offence occurring.

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