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Question Number: 18661

The Fourth Official 3/31/2008

RE: competive Adult

jon b of oakton, va us asks...

I watch EPL, what's the job of the fourth ref in the stands?

Why don't high school soccer games in the USA have a 4th ref?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

In the stands??? That makes no sense to me? Perhaps one of the regular officials was absent and a call went out to see if a registered official in the stands could fill in??
EPL has a team of 4 officials working the match referee 2 ARs and a 4th official
The 4th official is on the field at the touchline and midline of the field. He controls the technical areas for substitutions and monitors team behavior ad acts as another set of eyes for the referee in behind play. He will be called in as a replacement referee if the referee in the match is injured or unable to continue. A 5th official was recently added at the last world cup for elite play, he is there to replace an AR if injured or unable to continue. In the USA 4th officials are widely in use at the elite level. At the Grassroots it is a matter of money and availability. USA highschool I belive often uses a two man referee system likely for the same reasons as grassroots or recreational venues as a matter of bodies and monies.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

HS in the US doesn't want to pay for 2 AR's, so they gave one a whistle and told the other one to stay home, and voila, the "dual" system was created. Which sometimes deteriorates into a "duel" system.

You think they will be eager to pay for a 4th Official on those matches where they do have a full set of R-AR-AR? Not likely.

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