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Question Number: 31806

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 9/22/2017

RE: Competitive Under 17

Matt Disco of Piedmont, CA USA asks...

I struggle with a process question. I often AR upper age group competitive games. Usually, once or twice a game, a ball will come in hot and go out of bounds right in front of me. Should I stop the ball before it goes by me so the team with the throw in doesn't have to chase it down? As a matter of practice I do not and I just let it roll by, because I don't want to give the team with the throw in the ability to gain an advantage by doing a quick throw in and because if I do it for one team I should do it all the time since I don't want to appear as if I am favoring any one team over another. Players often give me an earful when I let the ball roll by, which has me wondering whether I am doing the right thing. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,
Perhaps in cases of inclement weather, where the ball is headed into the dense bush or nearby pond, there are no ball retrievers and it is the only game ball a well timed intervention is not the worst decision but truthfully chasing after the ball is NOT your concern.

In competitive play at most any level, you are correct, by stopping the ball, thus causing a quick throw or corner releases an unmarked player you could HAVE indeed affected the match.

As AR you should NOT be receiving ANY guff from players the CR should step in to ensure that is NOT allowed. Just concentrate on YOUR job let the player do theirs.

If your CR had said I WANT YOU to stop the balls whenever possible so we can get this match finished before dark then maybe.

However, as Chico used to say, 'That's not my job man! '


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
My advice to assistant referees is to concentrate on the game, focus on the field of play and let the teams look after play and the ball. I might on occasions let the ball hit me which may stop it yet I would never ever go out of the way to stop the ball or retrieve it. Your thinking is sound and your reasons are valid.
I would certainly not take abuse from any player that thinks my role is to act as a ball boy. I would bring the CR across if the earful warrants a caution. No need for it.
Also you will never see a high level AR touch the ball at any time. It is a no no.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matt,
You are right when you say that an AR who starts retrieving the ball for throw-ins runs the risk of being seen to give an advantage to one team or the other and it is for this reason that it is best avoided.

The only times I would consider doing it would be in a low level, non-competitive 'recreational' game for younger players or as my colleagues have suggested on the rare occasions where some other factor such as weather or local field conditions is a consideration, or (more unusually) if the referee has asked you to do so, though personally I have never experienced this. And yes, on occasion you might let the ball hit you especially if you can't easily get out of the way.

I also agree that there is no reason to let players give you a hard time about this and you should involve the CR if the players' behaviour in this regard is getting out of hand.

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