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Question Number: 26898

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 10/11/2012

RE: Adult

graham smith of Harlow , essex england asks...

In European ( Euopa and Champions league ) football now where we have an extra linesman behind the goal , can you please explain why they are on the same side as the linesmen and not on the other side where no one can see clearly ???

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Graham
When the AAR role was first introduced the positioning was on the left hand side of the goal. However many referees complained that their 2nd nature 'diagonal' patrol path was being compromised when a new patrol path was introduced which required that the referee would move slightly more central and to the right of the goal so that he would have both the AR and AAR in view. That did not work as many referees felt that their attention was being directed towards this new positioning plus it brought the referee into 'traffic' which was more intrusive on play rather than adopting the tried and trusted diagonal path. As a result AARs were then moved to the right hand side of the goal and the referee continues with the traditional 'diagonal' patrol path that referees use with two ARs.
Personally I don't agree with that and I felt that the blind spot of deep and to the left of the goal is still the weak point in the traditional system plus the AR and the AAR have the exact same angle of view. The argument is that the role is mainly for hairline goal decisions and I suspect when the new technology is introduced the AAR role may be removed.
I think that the referees could have been allowed to continue to use what they were trained and familiar with and to see the AAR role to the left of the goal as the extra pair of eyes rather than worrying about positioning to accommodate same. For the majority of officials it is not relevant so it does not receive any attention except at the very highest level. There has been a number of situations were it has failed miserably most notably in the European Championship game between England and Ukraine when the ARR failed to award a goal when the ball crossed the goal line when cleared by John Terry. Perhaps if he had been on the other side both the AR and AAR could have got it correct as they are miked for communiaction purposes?
By the way Serie A in Italy is now using AARs

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

As Ref McHugh notes, I believe the change was in response to the suggestions from the referees who during the initial trials so that referees could return to a more traditional position. It also allows the AR to focus on offside positioning since support for the referee on fouls and misconduct is provided by the AAR.

IMO, it does seem odd to place the AAR on that side of the goal.

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