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Question Number: 32002

Law 5 - The Referee 11/6/2017

RE: Under 19

John of La, La Usa asks...

Should a center referee ever call his own offside or wave down an AR's offside call?

Like if a center happened to be up at the defenders line and saw a player is clearly offside but the AR misses it, or the center referee clearly sees that an attacker came from behind the defense or his own half of the field and the AR incorrectly calls it offside.

Or would this basically make the team's think that AR is incompetent and it wound cause more problems than just always assuming your AR is correct in calls/non calls?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
Ultimately it is up to the referee to make the decision. If it is clearly incorrect the referee should call the offside or wave a flag down. It makes no difference how it makes the AR look if it seen to be incorrect.
Here is a video I refer to which shows a wave down of an incorrect flag.
The ball was played by Green to the Blue PIOP which the referee saw so the AR was incorrect to flag. It did cause dissent yet it was the correct call by the referee.
Now in a recent game I had a situation where a ball rebounded off the frame of the goal to a player who I felt was in an offside position. I looked to the AR and the flag was slow. Eventually the flag was raised and I called offside. Now the AR was best placed to see the play unfold and I was worried that the flag was not going to go up. I was somewhat concerned about the no immediate flag yet I could have missed a deeper defender who could have been playing the player onside. To be honest had the flag not have gone up I would probably have taken the no flag.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
it is important to understand TWO very important concepts
(1) NO player should EVER use the flag as an excuse to stop playing the flag is ONLY a signal to the referee that in the ARs opinion play should be stopped.
(2) NO CR disregards AR input EVER unless the CR is an idiot. The CR WILL on various occasions when 100% certain the AR is incorrect overrule and wave off a flag of an event where he is sure he is aware of things the AR is not.

A prime example is my colleagues' video referral showing the last touch of the ball as a deliberate play by the opposition which renders NO Offside possible. Here is another MLS video showing a similar wave off, look at the reaction of those not aware of the truth. They are acting as idiots because they incorrectly want to accept AR input 100% incorrect above CR input.


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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

One time where I overruled the AR and I was correct: The AR had no way of knowing it was an opponent, not a teammate who kicked the ball to the player in the offside position.

One time where I overruled and was 100% wrong: The field was lined on an angle in the park. I thought for sure the player was offside, and wondered why the AR's flag wasn't up. I blew the whistle - and I blew it!

But there were other instances in my youth career where the newer AR wasn't yet up to the challenge of calling offside all the time, and as center I had to make the calls.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi John,
Regarding your point about the referee overruling the AR risks the AR being seen as incompetent - surely when the AR has clearly flagged (or not flagged) incorrectly they're going to be seen as incompetent anyway! The only difference in not overruling for a clear error is that the referee will also be seen as incompetent!

Mistakes happen - and the ref should overrule on a very clear error.

Most of the time the 'overruling' should only be because the defensive team has then gained an advantage.

It's very rare for the ref to overrule the AR on whether or not a player was offside (say, calling an offside infringement when the AR hasn't flagged), and the vast majority of the time the referee is incorrect when they do this. As a ref you need to trust the AR.

If you start to see that your AR is not competent, then perhaps adjust your positioning to monitor the offsides yourself. The only time I've started calling offside when I've had neutral AR's is when I've had some truly terrible ones (I can honestly only think of one game where I've done this), and in that case I positioned myself to accurately call offside once play moved up that end.

Aside from that, there will be many, many situations where you look up the field and you'll swear black and blue that there's no way the attacker can possibly be on. Resist the urge to overrule your AR - they were in line looking at the players; you weren't. If you get into the habit of calling offside when your AR hasn't flagged it, I guarantee you'll get it wrong 99% of the time.

And same the other way. I've had times on the line when a keeper's punt has been sent upfield, I've raised the flag, and by the time the active player gets the ball he's 15 yards onside, so the ref looks to me and thinks 'can't be possible that he was offside' and overrules me. Again, even if it looks like an obvious error, trust your AR unless you really have some additional information.

AR flags for offside when you can see another defender 40 yards back chatting to the goalkeeper? Absolutely you should overrule then!

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