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Question Number: 31042

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 11/22/2016

RE: Premier Under 13

Murat of Robbinsville, New Jersey United States asks...

After drawing 2 PK's in the first half against a very aggressive defense line of the opposing team, our #10 player got clipped once more in the box and the main referee pointed the PK spot w/o hesitation while the AR who was ref'ing the very same half of the field indicating the same decision by staying still. The AR of the opposite half of the field did everything to 'overrule' the main referee's decision. As far as I know, AR's are there to assist not to try to overrule the main and the other assistant referee's decision, especially when s/he is far from the action. At the end, the main referee changed his decision and the game started with a goal kick. This did not prevent us winning the game but how come an assistant referee 40 yards away can 'overrule' the other two referee's decision? Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Murat,
technically the far away AR cannot OVERRULE the CR, he can provide additional knowledge to assist but the final decision rests with the CR.

I can recall a premier match in England where the CR ruled a PK and the near AR was screened so simply agreed. It was the far AR who came to his rescue as he noted CORRECTLY the deliberate handling was due to a reach around by the attacker who had stuck his arm up under the lowered arm of the defender. Replay showed this clearly on the freeze frame, but very difficult to spot in normal play speed. I had to wonder if the far AR had a camera view from somewhere? lol The attacker was subsequently cautioned and a DFK out resulted. Definitely the correct result despite the unusual way it came about! You might recall the Zidane world cup send off in the France versus Italy match up incident was actually reported by the 4th official!
I have no idea what occurred in your match to be fair best I can offer is the AR made a case about something that convinced the CR. So ask the CR why?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Murat
As described by yourself the input by the trail assistant is always difficult to *sell* based on the distance from the incidents. It is for that reason that they rarely get involved in decisions outside of their *area of control* which includes offside and fouls in their vicinity. However it is not a reason to disregard the input from that assistant and ultimately it is up the referee to decide based on what he saw & the input from his ARs including the 4th official. Obviously the CR on hearing from the AR decided that the import of that information was viable so he changed his call. Some times angle of view can play an important role in a decision.
We have had plenty of questions on the site about ARs feeling miffed about CRs overruling flags for penalties, offside etc So I can assure you that the lead/ trail AR never overrules as it is always the referees game to call.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mural,
As my colleagues have pointed out, an assistant referee cannot actually overrule the referee. However the Laws of the Game do say that AR's are to:

''assist the referee with offences and infringements when they have a clearer view than the referee''

I can only trust that this is what happened here. While it is somewhat unusual for things to happen as you describe, Ref Dawson had given a good example of how sometimes this can be the only way to arrive at the correct decision.

After hearing from the AR, the referee still has the overall authority to decide. As the Laws further point out:

''[the] assistant referees [...] will assist the referee in controlling the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game but the final decision will always be taken by the referee.''

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