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Question Number: 27650

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 8/9/2013

RE: Competitive High School

Dan Torchio of Wake Forest, NC USA asks...

As an Asst. Referee (AR), in the course of normal play, which hand is the default hand that your flag should be in? Most of my peers say the left hand, however, our area assignor says the right hand. I know all the basics of keeping the flag always towards the field of play while running down the lines. However, when I am standing there at kickoff in line with the second to last defender, should that flag be in my left hand or right hand?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dan
As you say the flag should always be in the hand that is nearest the field of play. So facing the halfway line it should be in the right hand and facing the goal line it should be in the left hand.
Don't worry about the kick off position. At kick off if an attack is expected with the movement of the defenders immediately towards your goal line then the left hand would be best. If the defenders push up towards the halfway line then right hand is required. I would also say that the majority of flag signals use the right hand such as a goal kick, offside, corner kick so that is the dominant use hand.
Key point is concentration on the game and anticipation of what unfolds.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Flag should always be between you and the referee.

If you're running in the bottom left corner of the field (goal line to the right), and you're facing the field, then the flag stays in your left hand. If you're facing up the line, it will be in your right hand. Whichever way you're facing the same principle applies - keep the flag between yourself and the referee. If you signal with the other hand, swap the flag then signal, then swap back.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The flag will usually be in the left hand when the referee is following a traditional diagonal. It should move to the right hand when making most signals (other than throw-in or foul/free kick restart for the defense) or when running/walking toward the halfway line. In that hand, the flag is easiest for the referee to quickly find it and the assistant referee.

Occasionally, assistant referees from other federations will be seen shifting the flag to the right hand in the last 18 yards (between penalty area and goal line). This is not an approved mechanic for USSF. But even they would be seen with the flag in the left hand during a kickoff.

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