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Question Number: 21442

The Technical Area 5/31/2009

RE: Under 16

Clive Slater of Clare, Ireland asks...

This question is a follow up to question 20009

If there is no technical area, the competition rules do not provide for one, and the coach is not interfering with the referee, can the referee instruct the coach(es) where to stand? If so under which Law?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

The coach is under ONE SINGLE OBLIGATION of LAW.
That is to act in a responsible manner

? takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds

It is in my opinion FOOLISH for any competition to not set out a CLEAR technical area. Coach activities, Substitutions and AR movements are greatly enhanced by such a small thing as small rectangular sections of lines on the pitch. You get coaches running up and down the field interfering with the ARs , sloppy substitutions and basically just extra stuff that can be prevented by a properly designated field.

An AR could for example run ito a coach who is crowding the touchlines and even be injured. Players are not confined suddenly the flag goes up for a non existent offside or is not raised for a real offside because a substitute looks like a player from across the pitch

In the absence of proper field markings if they are not mandatory, we do not tell a coach how to coach! We can request his co-operation by asking for some respect for the AR running the line! To group the substitutes away from the midline but not strung out along the field. If he wanders up and down we can still hold him accountable to NOT come within a meter of the field or interfere with the AR or the opposition's ability to retrieve the ball. His attitude and behaviour is treated no different as if he was in or out of the technical area

I do not know if you could follow my idea with impunity over there but I will flat cone out the technical areas if I arrive at a field that does not have them. I also try, if the league allows, placing the fans on one side of the touchlines and the two technical areas either side of the midline on the far side of the touchlines. I impose an arbitrary 5 yard back for spectators who like to use their chairs but at times have been forced to stop play because some crowd the touchlines to a point where we can not even get a throw in or the AR has to run inside the field to avoid mowing people over.
A few guidelines follow the LOTG and these issues are resolved.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board
Decision 1
A referee (or where applicable, an assistant referee or fourth official)
is not held liable for:
any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator
any damage to property of any kind
any other loss suffered by any individual, club, company, association
or other body, which is due or which may be due to any decision that
he may take under the terms of the Laws of the Game or in respect of
the normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match.
Such decisions may include:
? a decision that the condition of the field of play or its surrounds or
that the weather conditions are such as to allow or not to allow a
match to take place
? a decision to abandon a match for whatever reason
? a decision as to the suitability of the field equipment and ball used
during a match
? a decision to stop or not to stop a match due to spectator interference
or any problem in spectator areas
? a decision (where he has the authority) to allow or not to allow
any persons (including team or stadium officials, security offi cers,
photographers or other media representatives) to be present in the
vicinity of the field of play

The technical area relates to matches played in stadiums with a
designated seated area for technical staff and substitutes as described
While the size and position of technical areas may differ between
stadiums, the following notes are issued for general guidance:
? the technical area extends 1 m (1 yd) on either side of the
designated seated area and extends forward up to a distance of
1 m (1 yd) from the touch line
? it is recommended that markings are used to define this area
? the number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is
defined by the competition rules
? the occupants of the technical area are identified before the
beginning of the match in accordance with the competition rules
? only one person at a time is authorised to convey tactical
instructions and he must return to his position after giving these
? the coach and other officials must remain within its confines except
in special circumstances, for example, a physiotherapist or doctor
entering the field of play, with the referee's permission, to assess
an injured player
? the coach and other occupants of the technical area must behave
in a responsible manner

? A fourth official may be appointed under the competition rules and
officiates if any of the three match officials is unable to continue,
unless a reserve assistant referee is appointed. He assists the referee
at all times
? He has the authority to inform the referee of irresponsible behaviour by any occupant of the technical area

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Law 3 has always required team officials to stay within confines of the Technical Area and to behave in a responsible manner. From the 2007/2008 LOTG which still applies:

Decision 2
A team official may convey tactical instructions to the players during
the match and he must return to his position after giving these
instructions. All officials must remain within the confines of the technical
area, where such an area is provided, and they must behave in a
responsible manner.

The 2008/2009 LOTG have ommitted many of the decisions as they are understood to be known by anyone associated with soccer. Still, from 2009 LOTG Law 3 interpretations;

? the referee must have him removed from the field of play and if
his behaviour is irresponsible, the referee must expel him from the
field of play and its immediate surroundings

The above and this from Law 5 gives the referee the authority to dismiss any team official for acting irresponsibly:

? takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves
in a responsible manner and may, at his discretion, expel them
from the field of play and its immediate surrounds

Ref Dawson quotes where the technical area is even if not marked. The coaches should stay at least a yard off the touchline and no more than a few yards from either side of the bench. Nothing is more irritating to an AR than a coach who is constantly blocking his view by standing ON the touchline. Also, allowing coaches from both teams to stray as far as the center line invites confrontation. Many referee will allow coaches to go as far as the top of the penalty area but no coach should be allowed to wander his entire sideline.

Where I usually referee there are no Technical Area boundaries lined so I ask the coaches to stay at least 2 yards off the touchline and not wander more than 3-5 yards from either end of the bench

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