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Question Number: 22688

Law 5 - The Referee 12/31/2009

RE: Rec Under 14

Nate of Kensington, CT North America asks...

How many refs are allowed to ref a match

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

There is only one system of refereeing approved for USSF - the diagonal system of control with one referee and two assistant referees. The assistants may be neutral (not affiliated with either team) or club lines (someone associated with the team).

Some high school or college rules allow for two center referees and no lines, the dual system.

Some high school rules also provide for the so-called double-dual or 3-whistle system. There are 3 officials, all with whistles. Essentially the AR's change their flags for a whistle, and are allowed to run on the field.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

1 - Referee on the field.
2 - Referees on the line.
1 - 4th official who assists with certain on field issues and off field administration.

This is the systems approved by FIFA, USSF, and the American college game.

American high school uses a number of different systems, that I shall not get into now.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Under the laws of the game, there is only one referee.

There can be two assistant referees who provide important information to the referee. There can be a fourth official, who assists with administrative duties, substitutions and the bench, and who can take over if a referee or assistant is unable to perform. During the world cup, you will also see a fifth official, who has no active duties but is there to take over if an assistant referee becomes unable to perform.

FIFA is currently monitoring a European experiment with two additional assistant referees who are stationed by each penalty area. In those matches, there a six members of the referee team.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nate
My colleagues have outlined to you with the relevant systems that are in place.
I would make the point that there is only one referee who is in sole charge of the game. The other officials are there to assist him/her but the final decisions rests with the match referee, the person in the middle with the whistle.

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