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Question Number: 31875

Other 10/7/2017

RE: Under 17

Gary of San Francisco, CA USA asks...

What should you do if you lose confidence in your AR?

Say you are doing a game with an AR and they have multiple incorrect or missed offside calls, or are not really assisting much with calling fouls in their quadrant of the field (although this one isn't too big of an issue), as I have had this issue multiple times in younger age groups with younger referees.

Whenever the center ref ever calls an offside foul on their own, or waves down an (incorrect) offside flag from an AR, it creates an issue where you expose yourself as not trusting your AR and creates problems with players, coaches, even spectators.

Is the response to basically just pretend like the AR is doing everything correctly and call/not call accordingly, and justify it to players/coaches yourself so as to not expose that the AR is not qualified and to allow them to keep confidence?

This situation is talking about an overall pattern of an AR consistently not being correct, not just maybe a missed call here or there

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Gary,
I'm sure we've all being in the situation of having an AR who seems to be doing more harm than good.

As you state, not calling fouls is not a problem. Often this can be the result of a lack of experience leading to a lack of confidence. Perhaps each time there's a foul the AR has thought you've also had a clear view, or is having difficulty trying to match their foul recognition to your style of foul recognition.

When I know I have a young, inexperienced AR, I find out before how confident they are with fouls and tell them not to worry about flagging for a foul unless it's a really, really obvious one (not because it's necessary, but to help them become comfortable with flagging for fouls). I know before the match I'm not going to be relying on them for fouls, so I position myself accordingly.

Offsides are a bit different - they should be getting them right. If I'm absolutely certain they're getting them wrong, then I'll adjust my positioning to give myself a better chance of spotting these myself (more in line with how I position myself when I don't have AR's at all).

Of course you really need to be certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be overruling a neutral AR. I've found when observing or even as an AR myself that when the centre ref overrules the AR, the centre ref is often the one in the wrong (not referring to when the flag has gone up correctly and the ref then correctly wants play to continue).

Ultimately the correct decision is what's most important. All you can do is make the right decision and ensure you're still protecting your AR from dissent - and provide feedback to the referee coach or assignor afterwards.

If you can see the decisions are missed because they're frequently out of position, you can have a word with them - preferably at halftime.

Removing your AR is a possibility but only to be done in dire circumstances. I'd be leaving that to deliberate misconduct. If the AR is frequently out of position because they're chatting to spectators and turning their back to play (or watching the game on the next field!) and you've already warned them then it might be justified. But in my view, not for simple sub-par performance.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gary ,
youth matches with inexperienced ARS and CRs create a lot of confusion in the early part of their careers because they lack confidence to call what they know or have too much confidence and call what they should not.

There is a rational to standardize the training so Joe from Ohio meets Chis from New York and Richard from Canada with Jose from Mexico all are able to stay on the same page. Yet training & experience do not occur overnight

The issue is not everyone is on the same curve on the referee education chart as they MOSTLY are at elite . Let face it the intense training to GET to do those matches versus finding enough bodies to get a Saturday city match in progress results in a wide latitude of Ok I am getting 25 bucks to do this and then I can take Sarah to the movies versus my hero is Collina and one day I too shall do a WC final.

There are those that assist but it would be better if they just left you on your own, god bless them they try but they really do not grasp the essence of the JOB! I grant you it is a job, not always easy but it has responsibility and we should expect effort and attention to the degree of training age appropriate and competition levels these ARs or CRs are in charge of or participating in.

I do not know if you have a pregame discussion of any sort never mind in depth but I recommend you try to do so to ascertain their level of understanding. It is not just I want you to do this because I am the CR but a FEEDBACK loop where they and you discuss how a match is to be conducted based on ALL of your combined knowledge. When you recognize that certain individuals have limited knowledge and skills are they aware of their limitations? Do they want or need more from you?

I tell the teams at the VERY beginning of ANY match at ANY level my ARS are 100% off limits to ANY verbal or physical abuse. You have an issue you bring it ONLY to me! You HAVE to protect your ARs from abuse it KILLS their interest cuts out their heart and will to do the job especially at the youth level . Nervousness confusion, lack of proper training yes the ARs can error but you as CR must watch the WHOLE match and IF you spot the error FIX it do not lay blame. Educate mentor quiet chats, eye contact thumbs up Intimidation by those around ARs affects them and many are more scared of making a mistake then getting it right.

I have tried to facilitate offside positioning on certain restarts to assist a weak AR but in the end you simply have to train the AR correctly. You need to talk, reassure, cajole protect and demand from them effort. You need to make them aware if you wave them off it is not saying they are idiots but just making decisions we can talk about later. Many ARs complain over bearing CRs ignore them to the same extent CRs claim ARs insist too much or fail to support them.

I think you could be simply frustrated because you are giving forth effort and feel let down by the inefficiency? If you can not support the AR with empathy , verbal talks , wave off a few incorrect flags you are 100% sure about and a bit of overrunning your area of interests. If the AR exhibits hostile or aggressive tendencies that undercut your respect or authority you might have to remove them as a LAST resort but I think it unwise to ignore them.

I will back up my ARs to the moon and back but I DEMAND effort support and dedication. I will do all that I can to share my knowledge and listen to their concerns but in the end you as CR need to decided on how you will deal with an AR who is not up to the task. It starts in the pregame and should continue through the half and into the post game!

Find the positives where ever you can! BE sure your association has proper mentoring and training programs otherwise you are a dry desert wind in a snowstorm

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Ultimately it is the referees game to call. ARs are there to assist and the only significant calls that an AR has to make is offside.
On fouls the pre match instruction can be to only signal fouls that the referee missed and are in the AR vicinity. So most times an AR not calling fouls is not an issue. In fact I do not like ARs flagging for an offence that the referee is calling with the exception of helping with further sanction such as USB or SFP. Indeed a referees does not want an AR signalling when he has seen the contact and opined it is not a foul.
Ball in and out is a judgement call and tight ones are fairly rare plus most times it is clear who touched it last. Again pre match instructions should be to go with the referee in his half and on the unsure ones to make eye contact and to go with the referee. Overrules are common on TIs due to a missed nick, unseen contact
Now the difficult one is offside and due to the positioning of the ARs they are best placed to see across the line. If the offside is tight and the AR flags it then I am going with it 100%. If it is blatantly incorrect then it is a wave down and play continues. Again the pre match instruction needs to be very clear what is expected. Wave downs on offside are rare and only if it blatantly incorrect such as played by a onside player coming on to the ball, or a defender plays the ball to a PIOP or a defender unseen say on the line beside the GK.
I had two inexperienced ARs in a recent game and I knew that from the get go that confidence levels would be low. On one offside call I felt the AR may have been wrong. I was in no great position to question his correctness or otherwise yet the way play unfolded I felt he flagged the wrong player. I took the flag. Dealt with any dissent and I did speak with him at half time and he was somewhat watery on the explanation which suggested to me he got it wrong by flagging for an offside position rather than for interfering with play. Now while I did not have 100% confidence in the AR he was the official that was there and assigned to the game.
On another game recently I was senior AR with a very junior official as AR. He flagged one time for offside on a fee kick where the ball hit the wall rebounding out. It was the wrong flag and it was ignored by the CR. The young AR knew he got it wrong and dropped the flag. I spoke with him after the game about the decision explaining the situation and what could have gone wrong for him.
Now the alternative in games may be no ARs just club linemen and I can assure you that is not a better place. Inexperienced ARs goes with a certain level of the game and our ability has to bring these officials on through advice, coaching, discussion etc. Like in any walk of life young inexperienced people have to *Sit next to Nellie* for a period. When they are with experienced officials our role is that of Nellie and their development is an important role for us. Look on it rather than a lack of confidence in officials yet rather an opportunity to teach and to impart knowledge.

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