Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 31994

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 11/5/2017

RE: Competitive Under 17

Daniel Shaffer of Roseville, CA USA asks...

Is there anything in the rules that would prevent the two assistant referees from switching their sides at the half of a game? I would think in the interest of fairness, this shouldn't happen, but it did occur in our game today.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Daniel,
No, there is nothing in the Laws of the Game that would preclude this. While it is not the more common practice as far as I am aware and I'm not sure I can see any particularly compelling reason to do this in normal circumstances, I know that it does sometimes happen and assuming they were both neutral officials I don't think any concerns regarding fairness should arise.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Daniel,
actually there is nothing within the LOTG that state the AR MUST remain on his line same as in the first half. The switch could be tactical or match control perhaps an unruly crowd control issue or technical area and the CR feel the more competent senior AR would be better able to control things? Or perhaps one AR is really quick and the tactical approach of the team he supervised in the first half suits his approach? I see it done in the EPL and actually talked to former EPL referee Geoff Winters about that very concept regarding fairness given he ran an exhibition match here in Alberta and the one coach reacted very negatively to it! Note it helps with not switching the hand for directional control for ball in or out or possession

The statement that best solves the condition is we are 3 or 4 NEUTRAL referees doing what we think is best for the match!

As a 4th I took over for referee who was injured and as CR I have subbed my 4th for an AR who pulled his muscle and kept my other AR with the same team because there he was already familiar with the defending tactic of them pushing way up quickly. Their coach was a real mouthy individual and the AR promotion for my 4th as a young inexperienced referee I felt would lead into greater problems for match control.
Either you buy in to the fact as referees with integrity we see what we see as a neutral officials or hold on to the idea we are out to get you by some nefarious unethical collusion for which we skilfully planed earlier!
Choice is yours!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I have on one occasion had my AR's switch sides of the field at half time. There was some condition on one line that we didn't realize before the game started. By moving the AR's straight across the field (but still on the same end), they would be calling offside against the opposite team in the second half. I just had to remember that I was running a reverse diagonal now.

One other time I had only 1 AR, and we recruited a club line for the other side of the field. Fortunately in the first half the AR was at the end of the field that had all the action. One team was dominating the other. The weaker team seldom got the ball very far across the half line. At halftime I decided to do a really weird thing. I had the AR move to the opposite end of the field so he could continue to be of assistance to me, rather than viewing the game at long distance (and continue holding his interest). But that was one extreme example at a recreational youth game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Daniel
Nothing in the Laws to prevent this. Generally it does not happen because there is no need to do it. However factors that can be a consideration include say a young official who has been badgered by spectators on one side who requests to move to the other side might be acceded to.
If an official complains that he is struggling with looking into the sun and he wants to change might be facilitated.
If an assistant is not confident in his first half performance and requests that he might be better going to the other side might be acceded to by the referee.
So there can be reasons which is up to the referee to decide on.
Sometimes I think that after watching defenders and forwards interact for 45 minutes that ARs learn a lot during that time which can be beneficial to the second half officiating by moving. As it is not the norm it does not happen very often. Fairness is not a concern as with neutral assistants what side they are on makes no difference.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31994
Read other Q & A regarding Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

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

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.