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Question Number: 28767

Law 6 - Assistant Referee 9/22/2014

RE: Rec Under 14

Jay LaFountain of Coldwater, MI USA asks...

I wanted some opinions on how you would handle the situation described as a center and as an AR.

CU14 game. Free kick just outside the penalty box, on the AR side, so I'm standing right there. Everyone is backed away at least 10 yards, and the boy is about to take the kick and one of the girls on the other team tells another teammate to 'go stand right in front of him'. She gets within what I would peg as 5 yards (but I didn't measure) to the ball.

As an AR, what do you do?

As a center, if you were watching (which this center wasn't) what do you do?

What I actually did, which I think was incorrect, was yell out to the player kicking to ask if he wanted 10 yards.

He looked at me kind of confused and then just kicked the ball.

I wonder if the player was 10 yards back already? I really need to work on my distances. But I think she was closer.

What I think I should have done was told the player to stand back 10 yards, and then if she didn't move back have the ref come over and have a word. As much as I wanted to just jump out there and measure the distance for him, I managed to keep myself from interfering with his right to kick without a whistle, even though it all happened really slow and he looked very put off by the player coming closer.

Anyway, since he kicked it there wasn't anything I could do so I ran to the offside line and got back to work.

So there's really two questions here. What would you do if you knew a player had encroached 5 yards as the other player was about to kick, and what do you do if you're not sure of the distance but the situation makes you believe that there is encroachment, ie, the other player telling her to 'stand right in front of him'.

Just as an update, besides that things are going pretty well with my the reffing, except I'm too reticent to call fouls from the AR position. I think I've got offsides down pretty well, basically I pick out the ORP and pay attention to them until there's a new snapshot. One time I had my eye on two ORPs and a third just ran out of nowhere and I had no clue whether she had been offside, so flag stayed down. I figure if she HAD been offside I would have likely noticed her before.

Mostly I've done AR at U10 and a couple U12 and U14 games, while centering at U8. In a couple weeks I'll AR a U19 game, probably. Exciting!

Thanks for being such a great resource. I like to talk refereeing.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi there Jay,
glad things are going well for you!
She gave her team mate very bad advice! I am very intolerant of those who deliberately delay restarts or fail to respect the required distance on free kicks by creating needles crap /confusion. As soon as those words popped out of her little mouth. My hand is already on the yellow card peeking out of my front shirt pocket with a possible YOU REALLY want to go there verbal and or a glaring expression of DARE YOU!!

A referee or AR is not supposed to coach the kids but education is a responsible attribute in most any set of circumstances so as AR , just say out loud BAD IDEA! Or ten yards now!

If a referee or AR is actively involved in a restart where he commands the attention then it should be ceremonial in nature and no quick kick permitted. If you are allowing a quick kick and there is significant encroachment where the free kick is not free and then retake and caution their disruptive butts.

If the free kick releases a good attack or a great shot on goal you could then forget about the caution but WARN those they are lucky the kick turned out well for them!

In point of fact if there was blatant encroachment even with a good shot on goal a retake is very much in the cards as the laws state the free kick is to be retaken as advantage applied to a free kick that might score does not set aside that misconduct from an improper restart.

You say centre was not watching ? sigh that is another type of a bad idea! sigh
If the free kick was taken and the referee was off in a cloud somewhere and as an AR you recognized the attempt to delay or create confusion was successful by the encroachment? Then raise your flag, get the referees attention and mention the free kick should be retaken, pointing out the trouble maker in the process, because we might or might not only caution the encroachment but we will rip a strip off her for inciting her team mates to misconduct.


Measure off ten yards then pace it in your NORMAL walk so you get it set in your mind . Use the ten yard centre circle as a reminder and of course on some football fields well the lines are at 5 and ten so they can also help.

You mention being reticent to call fouls as AR. That might be a good thing for the present because you REALLY need to have a CLEAR pregame with your centre referee as to what he expects. When I AR I rarely make foul calls UNLESS specifically designated by the referee to cover certain situations or it occurs out of sight of the referee .
If he looks over for support I give it as unconditionally as I am able

I will only intervene without his wishes to make it known to a referee if a decision HE has made is contrary to law. Then he can decide if he wants to continue along that line.
As you so aptly put it there wasn't anything else I could do so I run to the offside line and get back to work.

As an experience official when I work with a inexperienced centre referee who relies on me to make decisions it does not make him or her a better referee just dependant. I encourage the your match your decision your reputation aspect of accountability but IF they follow good communication protocol I try to give them every bit of help that I can without taking the whistle away. At the beginning of the match, the AR unrolls the flag as a signal to the referee that he/she has counted the players, checked the field and is ready for the game to start
During a tough match , upon eye contact I have grabbed my throat to indicate to the referee to get a hold of the match, it is slipping away, when they are too reticent to call fouls or deal with dissent or abuse.

Or when there is a foul/misconduct and I can see the hesitation, whistle up to lips then then down up then down. That by the way is a VERY BAD IDEA as well. You keep that whistle away from your mouth but when you put it up, you blow it!

If it is a foul/misconduct and a reason for play to be stopped I might preraise the flag ever so slightly so that it points upward even as it down beside my waist then I snap it up and wiggle as soon as the whistle blows SUPPORTING HIS DECISION
Of course we use the traditional thumbs up , smiling, head nodding and when he is close a quiet word in the ear if a specific reason requires it but generally the referee is large and in charge and as ARs we support his efforts, experienced or not, recognizing we work with what we have at that moment in time at that level of effort and knowledge upon the learning curve of wisdom



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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jay
An AR as part of his duties may enforce the 10 yards at a restart by asking the opponent to retreat the appropriate distance. In this case you would have been entitled to ask the player to move bac by shouting to move back. In these situations the CR should be paying attention and if the restart is interfered with the referee should intervene to enforce the 10 yards. The restart then becomes ceremonial and the restart is then on the whistle.
Sometimes the opponent has had no effect on the restart and play should continue. If the opponent interfered then the AR should raise his flag to signal the offence. The kick us then retaken when the free kick has been reset.
Glad all is going well on the refereeing. Keep up the good work




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