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Question Number: 31383

High School 3/23/2017

RE: High School High School

Rick Barns of Birmingham, AL USA asks...

a corner kick was awarded. The corner flag was in an upright vertical position and there was no wind and thereby stationary.

The AR held the top of the flag and pulled/leaned it over the end line and away from the kicker taking the kick. The bottom of the flag stayed in place. Is the AR allowed to do this? He said he was doing it so he would have a clear line of sight down the end line. This seems unlikely for 2 reasons, The AR was taller than this regulation corner flag, he was about 5'8' tall. 2) he position to hold the flag took him off the direct line of sight down the end line and placed him at an angle from off the field.

Is this something an AR should do?

In 40 years of playing, coaching, ref'ing, and watching as a fan, I have never seen an AR do something like this.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rick
Your question implies that the AR in some way was favouring the kicker by moving the corner flag? I would take it on face value that the AR was doing it for the reason he stated which was line of sight purposes. In fact I would go as far to say that the ARs actions would be a distraction to a kicker and of limited benefit really.
Having said all that the AR should not have held the flag. He could have centered the flag and repositioned it to the upright position and then left it. If he had a line of sight issue he could have stood to the side to take the flag out of his line of sight which is what I do.
In a recent game one of my ARs passed the ball with his foot that had left play to the thrower. A quick TI ensued with the AR now out of position. My immediate reaction was that the AR should not have done that. It was not questioned and probably seen as innocuous or being helpful to getting play restarted yet it allows someone to question the motive which is not a good position for the referee crew to be in. He certainly had no intention of benefitting one team and his action was naive leaving him open to such a question. Nothing was mentioned at any time by anyone and I raised it with him afterwards. Had an observer been there he would have been pulled up on it as something that should not occur and similar to the flag issue.
So it should not have happened, it did happen with very questionable benefit if any and all it did was make the AR look unprofessional.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Rick,
As far as the law is concerned, the AR should not be doing this. Law 17 states quite unequivocally:

''The corner flagpost must not be moved''

Now, there could be a situation where (as you hint at) the corner flagpole is not in its correct position or alignment due to a strong wind (or possibly some kind of defect). In this situation, the recommendation to use common sense, found in the 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials' could be applied but this would be in an effort to restore the flagpole to its correct position, not to move it out of alignment as you describe.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Most times it's players who want the flag moved out of their way - and of course, that's not allowed.

As an AR, I used the flag as part of my alignment to see if a ball went over the end line. As long as it was placed in the proper position, it should have been left alone.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

The AR should not be doing this in high school play. Please report this action to Scott Sweeney. He will take the necessary steps to train the official on why this should not be done. I hope to see you in Huntsville in May.

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