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Question Number: 26171

Character, Attitude and Control 4/13/2012

RE: Rec Under 14

Doug of Oakland, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 26148

Hello All - Thank you again for your great advice.
I seem to have a different view of the priority for AR responsibilities, compared to what most refs say, and what I have read.
Aside from safety, the most important task for the CR is deciding when and if a goal has been scored, or not. Since as CR I don't run to the goal line often, I rely on the AR to tell me when and if all of the ball crosses all of the line.
To do that, the CR needs the AR to be lined up w the outside edge of the goal line (outside edges of the goalposts) when the ball crosses the line. This is what I try to achieve when I am the AR, as best my speed will allow.
Making it to that position as AR, and giving the CR the proper signal for a goal, is what I emphasize in pregame.
As CR, I have even suggested that it is ok for the AR to cheat ahead of the offside position when it seems more likely that a shot on goal will be taken (I know that is not consistent w FIFA guidelines).
This just seems to make more sense to me.
My 2 cents.
Yours comments? /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Determining whether the ball has crossed the goal line is only one aspect in determining whether a goal has been scored. The officiating team also needs to be able to determine whether the ball got there in compliance with the LOTG. Considering offside infringements are the most common law infringements for an AR to adjudicate on (and one that's impossible for the referee to do so accurately), you can see why it's critical for the AR to be able to make every offside call accurately.

What happens if your AR runs off early, but the ball bounces off the crossbar and goes to another attacker who was very close to being in an offside position - but the AR now can't tell if they were?

Refereeing is about playing the averages. Every position we move into is because that position gives us the best chance of seeing the most likely events, but it's often the worst position for other, less likely fouls.

At a corner and a free kick we adopt a position that gives us the overall best view, but acknowledging there is still some opportunity to have no view of an incident. Playing the averages.

As an AR, it's far, far more likely to have to make a decision regarding offside, than whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not - and that offside decision is equally critical.

So that's why I'd say the AR does need to be ready to sprint off, but he needs to be in position to call the offside.

On some occasions though the AR could be well advised to start moving slightly early - particularly if the attackers are running upfield quickly and he can't keep up otherwise, but he needs to ensure he isn't compromising on his capacity to judge offside.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Not a good idea.

First, the goal/no goal decision is very rare. The offside/not offside decision is very common. If the AR is even a yard off the correct positioning, however, the AR cannot get that decision correctly. The CR must watch play and will not (despite best intentions) focus on the ever-changing location of the second last defender.

Second. If the CR thinks the chance of a goal/no goal decision is high (as when there is a free kick for the losing team in the last minute of the match in the attacking third), the CR should move closer to the goal line. The risk of being out of position for a counter-attack is less important than the goal/no goal decision.

At one time, sending the AR to the goal line of a free kick was a common instruction. Experience has shown that it is not the best option.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
The advice that I give to ARs is to only give the hairline goal if their positioning allows for that. If in doubt through poor positioning then do not give the goal.
As Referee Wickham states offside is more likely to happen and that is the primary function of the AR with the AR positioning himself for that call at all times There is no point in being yards ahead of play to anticipate a hairline goal that is rare and then not be able to judge a tight offside call because of the incorrect view.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

There is one instance where it may be deemed good for the AR to abandon his optimal offside viewing position. That is when there is a free kick with a decent possibility of scoring a goal. In that case, the referee may instruct the AR to cover the goal line, and the referee will assume the responsibilities for offside. This can be done because it is a set play, and the referee can position herself before the kick is taken.

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