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Question Number: 27710

Law 9 - The Ball in and out of Play 8/31/2013

RE: Amateur Adult

Tony of Liverpool , Merseyside England asks...

Are assistant referees deemed to be part of the field of play?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright


So if the ball strikes an AR (and it hasn't wholly left the field of play), play simply continues, much like if the ball strikes the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

More or less, assistant referees are equivalent to a clump of grass or a clod of dirt (and often get treated that way by the players, coaches and fans). If a ball that has not left the field strikes an assistant referee (or the referee for that matter) it is still in play. It's different if a spectator kept a ball from leaving the field; the spectator is an outside agent while the referees are not.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The assistant referee should normally be off the field, and thus, the ball should already be out of play when it strikes him or her. The restart should be a throw-in. But, if the ball has not completely left the field when it touches the assistant referee, you are correct. The AR (like the referee) is treated as part of the field - a lovely piece of grass.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
Yes they are. For that reason the advice to assistant referees is to stay off the field of play behind the touchline so that the ball does not hit them and they do not get in the way of players.
In the unlikely situation where the ball hits the AR before fully crossing the line and it stays in play then the referee under the Law must allow play to continue.
If an AR is unsure of his position and the ball strikes him while close to the line he may decide that the 'best' decision is that the ball was out of play and signal for a throw in. It is also a common sense decision when the ball is destined to go out of play anyway.

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