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Question Number: 32514

Mechanics 6/17/2018

RE: 1 Adult

Hassan Firaz of Male, Maldives asks...

yesterday's bright challenge cup match, AR up his flag for offside, for that attacking player stop running, at the same time defending players also stop. referee didn't blow his whistle. An other attacking player came and get the ball and he continue with the ball. by the way goal keeper block his shot. still AR flag was up.So that goal keeper threw that ball for free kick. defending players were not bother about the ball. again attacking players got the ball and they scored. But it was clear offside goal. Because AR were unable to come to his position. What referee should do when AR rise his flag for this situation. Thank u

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Hassan,
There is an old saying in football, taught to players from a young age, that you must always 'play to the whistle.' This means that players should only stop playing when the referee's whistle is blown and not for instance, when the AR raises the flag (or somebody appeals, or other players stop playing etc).

In the example you give, since the referee did not stop play, the ball is still in play and the goal is valid.

Now, in a situation like this where the flag is raised and the referee decides to overrule the AR, the referee should really 'wave the flag away' by signalling to the AR to put the flag down. Then it would be much clearer to everyone that the referee has overruled the flag and play is continuing. However that doesn't alter the fact that players should never act as if the whistle has gone and stop playing, when there has been no whistle.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Hassan
Regular visitors to the site will know that this has been asked on a reasonably regular basis.
The only official that can stop play is the referee with a whistle signal. So a raised flag does not stop play. It simply is an indication to the referee that in the opinion of the assistant that an offence has happened. If the referee agrees with that the whistle is sounded. If the referee does not agree the flag is waved town and play continues. As Referee Grove states the old adage of **Play to the whistle** applies.
In your example the assistant here in his opinion believed there was an offside offence and for whatever reason the referee decided that was not correct. The reasons can be that the ball was played by a defender, the player in an offside position was not interfering or that the AR missed a defender playing everyone onside.
So in your example the goal should stand and a hard lesson learned of playing to the whistle.
Have a look at this video
The referee correctly sees that a Green defender has kicked the ball to the Blue player in an offside position. That cannot be offside and the AR has missed that vital kick by Green. The referee waves down the offside flag as he knows that it cannot be offside due to a Green defender playing the ball. Some players in Green stop as they see the flag go up and a Blue player scores. The only possible outcome is to award a goal.
A flag in error mechanics are never helpful in a game situation yet the old adage of play to the whistle always applies. The only concern I would have in your example is that the referee should have waved down the original flag on the first goal opportunity which appears not to have happened. Also if the offside flag was missed by the referee then that error can be corrected before the kick off if in fact it was offside. An AR should not allow the game restart until the flag is clarified with the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Well, the players must play to the whistle. But that AR ... Should also realize that his poor mechanics, had an effect on the game. Next time that assistant referee should be more careful and want to put the flag up. With that said, the players also need to learn to play to the whistle.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Hassan,
Been said many times & in always in the same way, PLAY THE WHISTLE!
The AR signal is ONLY for the referee it is NOT for the players.

There is NO doubt though it will be viewed by some as unfair creating dissent & bad feelings with distrust at the fairness of the officials. If the AR signals with the flag the CR should either STOP play or WAVE the flag off .

He should NOT ignore it.

He has every right to play advantage or have a different opinion as to what transpired. A discussion can always occur after the fact!

A missed touch or an unseen event based on the angle of view. Players can gripe but one MUST place some faith in the integrity of the officials as neutral observers not as perfectionists in mechanics. The AR should keep his flag aloft until the CR acknowledges it and stops play or waves it off for the AR to drop it immediately.

AS a coach it freaks me out to see my defenders with their arms in the air asking to go to the washroom as a perfectly good goal is scored by our opponent!

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

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