Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

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
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
Panel Login

Question Number: 23643

Mechanics 7/8/2010

RE: competitive Adult

Steve of Granby, Quebec Canada asks...

this evening at my daughter's U12AA match, I noticed that the referee who started the game switched with one of the linesman at the half, therefore making the linesman the new ref and the ref became the linesman.
is there a rule covering this? seems unusual.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
When the referee feels that he can't continue in the game due to an injury or perhaps feeling unwell the decision is usually made that the senior assistant referee will take over and the referee, if he can, will take over the AR duties. He may only be able to do ball in/out duties in which case the other AR follows suit with the 'new' referee calling all offsides and perhaps all goal line calls. If the 'injured' referee cannot continue in any way the referee crew will seek a replacement AR to do ball in/out duties along the touchline usually in agreement with the teams. There is always someone willing to do linesman duties. If the replacement is a neutral licensed referee he/she carries out the full duties of an AR.
At the higher levels there is usually a fourth official. In those games the 4th official takes over the refereeing duties with the 'injured' referee becoming 4th official. In the case where the injured referee cannot continue the senior AR takes over what 4th official duties he can. At the higher levels there have been many situations where a referee spectating at the match has been called in to do 4th official duties. The same all applies in respect of an 'injured' assistant referee.
In the situation where the referee is on his/her own and he/she cannot continue, the game must be abandoned unless a licensed referee is present who can take over the duties .
In all situations the facts are reporting to the competition organisers in the match report.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

It is unusual, but the senior assistant referee may replace the referee in the event of injury or illness. The laws of the game do not address this as international matches will be played with a fourth (and sometimes fifth) official whose duty includes replacement of referee (or assistant) who is unable to complete the match.

We recently had a local youth match where the referee sprained his ankle in the first half, and switched places with the senior assistant referee. The new center sprained his ankle during the second half. The match was completed by the junior assistant referee as center, with two hobbling assistants on the line.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Unusual yes. Illegal? Not by a long shot. If a referee or AR becomes ill or injured during a game, someone has to take over, and that is usually the senior AR or the fourth official (if there is one). If necessary, sometimes a qualified AR or club line can be found to allow the game to finish.

Read other questions answered by Referee Michelle Maloney

View Referee Michelle Maloney profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 23643
Read other Q & A regarding Mechanics

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 23669

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 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.