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Question Number: 31774

Mechanics 9/10/2017

RE: Under 18

john of new orleans, la usa asks...

Question about a practice that not many referees do that I feel they should and wonder why they don't

When a free kick is taken by a team close to the goal (say within 20-25 yards) where the kicker can easily reach the goal, I usually will wave the AR down to the end line so they can watch the end line, and I will move to the offside line as center and take the offside.

I notice that most referees do not do this, and you end up in a situation where the referee is standing in position ' 15 yards from the goal line, and the AR is standing at the offside line which is say '10 yards from the goal line and the end line is not being watched at all

Do most referees do this and just not the ones I have been with, or is this bad mechanics and why?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
This is not good practise and I suggest the normal regular positioning. I will outline the reasons why in my opinion it is not a good idea.
1. Hairline goals are extremely rare. How many times has an AR had to make such a call compared to say offside?
2. Once the referee goes to the offside line the angle of view on other important decisions is compromised. Can the referee see the defensive wall and what is happening there such as possible handling. Looking across the line is important for offside yet it is poor for other decisions such as holding, pushing etc due to players being in the angle of view.
3. After the AR has moved to the end line he loses focus on any subsequent offside decisions as he has to readjust from a poor starting position. Confusion can reign as to when does offside calls pass back to the AR
4. It is contrary to the ARs positioning advice in the Laws of the Game booklet and for the vast majority of ARs will not want to do this. They will want to do what they are familiar with.
5. Offside call without an AR flag will raise all sorts of questions as to what was called.
6. On a formal observation it will result in loss of marks for both the CR and AR.
My advice is to stick with the approved positioning. Okay if a hairline goal is missed because an AR is elsewhere then so be it. Plan for what is more likely to happen which I can assure you are fouls and offside

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
generally this is frowned upon and given the elite has goal line tech as well as extra goal referees this would not be accepted as a smart decision.

Is it worth while at the recreational level?

ONLY if I thought the AR was very weak but then how does he get better?

The reasons not to do so are made evident in my colleagues Ref McHugh response. Is it possible a goal goes in and out and get missed yes but more likely in the confusion of subsequent play something else is more likely to occur. Also you are way out of position for any quick counter if say the ball is reversed suddenly.


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
My colleague referee McHugh has given a fairly comprehensive list of reasons why this is not a good idea but let me just reinforce his point no 4 (which also leads to point 5).

This is directly contrary to the instructions in the section of the Laws entitled 'Positioning, Teamwork and Communications.' The relevant part of this section states:

''The AR's position for a free kick must be in line with the second-last defender to check the offside line.''

Note the use of the word 'must' making this pretty much mandatory and as ref McHugh mentions, failure to comply with this instruction will result in a loss of marks for the officials, in addition to it being a bad idea for all the other reasons mentioned.

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Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

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