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Question Number: 16183

Mechanics 8/1/2007

RE: rec Under 17

lilly of orlando, florida america asks...

if i am refereeing a game and i get hurt, what do my assistants do?????

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If they are qualified to work the game, one of the AR's takes over for you and a club line is recruited to take over for the former AR. I say if qualified because referees with a Grade 9 certification can AR games at different levels than they can center. If the AR's are not qualified to center at that age group, a recreational league's rules may allow for another person to take the center - a coach or parent, for example.

You do not simply change places with one of your AR's. If you are injured so that you cannot continue in the center, you will not do an effective job as AR either. Go home, rest, get medical attention if needed, and prepare for your return next week.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Referee Voshol says it very well. Normally, if a referee cannot continue, his senior AR will take over, assuming there is no fourth official. Who will replace the referee in the event of incapcitation should always be a part of the pre-game discussion, and if the referee doesn't tell you, ask. The senior AR is usually the one on the same side as the teams, but not always. And I agree with Referee Voshol a referee who cannot continue in the center should not be running a line - find a club line or do without.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

One takes the referee spot and the other the sr ar spot. Then a club linesman is used for the other side. In international matches they have a 4th official and depending upon the contest, sometimes the 4th official takes the referee spot and other times an AR takes it and the 4th takes the ARs spot. Also, now they approved a reserve assistant as well.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Lilly, the answers from the other three referees tell you all you need to know if you cannot continue the game and the match is stopped. However, they do not address what I read to be your actual question: What happens if you are hurt during the game and the ball is in play? What are the assistant referees supposed to do then?

The answer is in the newest version of the FIFA Laws of the Game on page 68. In the section titled "Additional Instructions and Guidelines for Referees" you will find the following:

"If a referee is temporarily incapacitated for any reason, play may continue under the supervision of the assistant referees until the ball next goes out of play."

So, assuming you were hurt and unable to regain your feet and continue, the nearest AR should immediately assume control. Hopefully he has a whistle in his pocket. He can then drop the flag and enter the field to manage the game. Hopefully the ball will go out of play very quickly.

However, let me give you a bit of personal opinion. If I were the AR and saw you go down, and if it became clear to me that you were hurt, I would pull out my whistle, blow it loudly, and immediately stop the game. Forget what FIFA says, we're talking possible serious injury here.

We stop play immediately if a player is seriously injured, and I think that should apply equally if the referee is incapacitated.

NOBODY is going to argue this, believe me (except, possibly, the most anal assessor). Certainly the players and the coaches are not going to say a word if it is obvious the referee is seriously hurt and cannot continue. They will understand. And they will understand why the AR blew a whistle to stop the match.

Obviously just my opinion. Others may suggest that you follow FIFA's directives to the letter. This would mean allowing play to continue until the ball went out of play, no matter how long that took, no matter than play might go right to where the referee is lying injured.

However, I believe that sometimes you just have to ignore what the book says and do the right thing. Heresy? Oh, my!

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