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: 35543

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 5/28/2024

RE: Rec Under 18

Mike Hanson of Picton, Ontario Canada asks...

As an assistant referee, I know that I will be running on only one half of the touchline during the game. My question is am I still responsible for indicating ball out of bounds and whose throw in it is for the touchline that I am actually running on? Or is this part of the touchline the responsibility of the referee.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Thanks for the question.
Assistant referee signals are for the whole line not just the half the AR is patrolling. Every throw in direction for the total line should be signaled by the AR even obvious ones and also goal kicks and corner kicks at their end.

Due to an AR’s position deciding that the ball is fully over the touchline is mainly the ARs call with a raised flag. It is unlikely that a referee will be able to see a tight one right on the line hence dependence on an AR’s view. The rest will be obvious to everyone.
Perhaps in an exceptional situation an AR may not be able to see the touchline and the ball due to player positions such as players laying on the ball screening both the ball and the line so a referee may have to make that call. Rarely happens yet it needs to be considered.

Now obviously on a diagonal the referee will be closer to the action deep in the *other* half and as such will in most instances have a better view of who last touched the ball. Some will be totally obvious so agreement is never in doubt. In that case the AR will follow the referees restart direction signal.

Again there will always be exceptions with either the referee or the assistant can be unsure or get it wrong. Those can and tend to cause controversy with the referee giving it one way and the AR the other way. Either can see a touch that their colleague has missed and astute handling off these situations can head off any problems.

With mics and headsets it is fairly easy as the verbal decision can be communicated in advance of any signal such as *Ball off Blue* can be shouted whereas the response can be *No clearly off Red*. How that is handled is part of the prematch discussion and the referee will make the final call.
Without mics ARs clearly move the flag to the hand and raise it a small bit away from the leg in the direction they believe will be the restart before raising it fully while the referee may make a head movement or a quiet discreet arm movement below waist height towards the AR of their direction call and if in agreement the flag is raised. When there is no agreement the referee will make the call and the AR will follow suit.
Many referees will request that in the ARs half the referee will follow their lead and in the other half to follow the referee’s lead. It rarely is as easy as that as I have seen last touches missed by referees / ARs in situations close to them because they were screened.

Now when the *correct* decision is clearly made there is rarely a true gripe. I have had to give plenty of flag overrules over the years mainly on say goal line calls such as an AR signaling for a goal kick / corner kick when the AR missed a deflection off a defender / attacker and went with a quick flag rather than making eye contact and following the referees call. In those instances I could clearly see who last touched the ball as could most players in the goal area.

I would finish by saying that over the years I like to think I got most direction calls right as a referee and an assistant. Many are so obvious that everyone knows. Not all but generally good concentration and astuteness got them right. I recall an odd game where I thought it was one way and then the players decided otherwise by their actions. They did not know my thinking so I simply followed their lead.
I watched a referee recently give a corner kick in a game and every player in the penalty area through their movement and body language said goal kick by moving away to take up positions for a goal kick. It caused an incident when the corner kick was awarded. The referee did not have neutral ARs so CARs do not call corners or goal kicks just ball out of play on the touchline. Had he *read the room* the correct decision would have been made.
With a neutral assistant the referee could have made eye contact with the AR and be advised by the AR by signal and perhaps a shout that it is a goal kick. No one is going to challenge the correct call being made. It was obvious to me at half way it was a goal kick as it would have been to an AR had there been one.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
Even though you are only running along one half of the line, you are responsible for indicating the ball out of bounds and the direction of the throw for the entirety of that line.

There is a partial exception to this - according to the Guidelines for Match Officials section of the Laws of the Game:

"When the ball wholly passes over the touchline:
far from the AR and the AR is in doubt about the direction of the throw-in – the AR must raise the flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, make eye contact with the referee and follow the referee’s signal."

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mike,
you are indeed responsible for indicating the ball out of bounds and the direction of the throw for both halves of the FOP. The straight line along a touchline generally puts you in the best viewing position looking down into the other half much as your job of staying with the second last defender to judge offside looking straight across in your half. At the grass roots level without radio or buzzer indicators, the FLAG and your eyes /body mechanics keep you and the referee in sync. The pregame discussions should clarify your duties and the expectations the CR has!

My colleagues explanations cover a great deal but as a CR I often try to remind my ARs and 4th that getting the decision correct is important and to not let me make an obvious error in enforcing LOTG. We follow protocols, establish eye contact and use body mechanics to convey our thoughts. I use a 5 inch invisible wall of water extending forever straight up analogy to establish in newer ARs the concept of if ANY portion of the ball is wet THAT ball is in play!

Some decisions are straight forward but as my colleagues indicated being screened and unsure requires the pregame talk to handle such things be clear as to how to proceed. It is not a good idea to verbally contradict the CR in public! Use a come hither motion finger hand gesture or point at mouth for, what is best, a QUIET one on one private conversation.

It is an AR job to assist the referee, no matter the attitude or demeanour on the pitch be professional, do not get too upset if overruled or contradicted but discuss calmly in post game things you are uncertain or possibly upset about. The CR has the final decision just be sure on your part you gave them all the info you had to arrive at a decision!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 35543
Read other Q & A regarding Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials

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! <>