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Question Number: 30014

Mechanics 1/8/2016

RE: All, few professional Adult

Bob of Kansas city, Kansas US asks...

What is your opinion about referees going into the penalty during normal course of fluid play. ( not regarding spend kitty kick).

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Bob,
a referee on occasion could find the correct distance and angle of view required to properly evaluate a situation cause him to venture inside the penalty area during active play. As a general rule we try to stay a bit wide outside the penalty arc using the AR to trap play. Often on corners or set plays we need to be careful given the number of players congregating inside but also we are blocked and require intrusion into the PA to see direct interaction. The angle of ball delivery or angle of players does not always follow a proactive approach of positioning so we must recover and do what is necessary. Same again when an attacker is weaving about with the ball dribbling around defenders inside the opposing PA. We need to see and if players block we need to get around and closer or even farther but at an angle we can CLEARLY see the action.
A referee can be too close or at a bad angle and not see a blatant foul at 3 yards away that a better positioned referee at 20 yds. can easily discern. My good friend and mentor Esse encouraged me to be where you need to be as often as you can!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
There has been much written and debated over the years about referee positioning. Indeed many referee observers differ on positioning. During the last World Cup Massimo Busacca Head of Refereeing Development with FIFA, insisted on a different path of control from the normal style of refereeing. FIFA instructed referees that during the World Cup as soon as players entered the penalty area and moving towards the goalline, mostly in dangerous goal attempts, referees should leave the diagonal movement and use the diagonal channel instead. It was also an instruction for referees to be ahead of play.
Have a look at this video of 10 goals
In all the goals the referees are ahead of play yet no once do they get inside the penalty area nor do they need to.
Now look at this video
Was Referee Nishimura well positioned to see this incident? Many argue that had he been wider and perhaps deeper on the regular diagonal that he would have seen the incident more clearly as side on generally is the best viewing angle.
As soon as play is moving towards the right half of the penalty areas, referees were advised to use the so-called "diagonal channel", i.e. being positioned close to the penalty area's line on the right side, close to the assistant referee which Referee Nisihmura does. This position is similar to the movement UEFA's referees had to adapt during Champions and Europa League matches due to the Additional Assistant Referees' presence left from the goal prior to 2011 when this was changed to the right side of the goal. Referees had complained quite a lot about being forced to change the normal diagonal control path hence the change of AAR positioning.
What it does highlight that there are pluses and minuses in every positioning system. The best system is the one that gives the referee the best angle of view. It is also dependant on the referees speed, fitness and perhaps knowledge of the teams, tactics. One only has to look back at decision that were missed to understand that sometimes it is just not possible to be in the right place at the right time.
BTW have a look at this video
At one time the referee was in the recommended position!!. I have used this in games when on my own and it does work.

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