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Question Number: 32706

Law 5 - The Referee 9/13/2018

RE: Adult

Paul of Gold Coast, Queensland Australia asks...

Can the referee make a decision regarding offside with out the assistant ref raising their flag

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Paul,
the CR ( centre referee) can call offside with or without assistance of the AR .

The CR can see an offside or a non offside from HIS vantage point and decide to wave off an incorrectly raised flag or stop play for an offside the AR missed.

The CR has the ONLY authority to CALL the offside & stop play. The AR only relays information which the CR will choose to use or not! The flag is ONLY a signal to the CR from the AR it is NEVER EVER an excuse for players to stop playing . You ALWAYS play to the whistle!
Cheers .

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Absolutely. The AR usually has a better view of the situation. But the ref may see an offside infraction that the AR misses for some reason. Just like the AR might see a foul that the ref was blocked from seeing.

Calling offside might be done at the referee's peril. It's happened to me. I was sure the player was offside, and that my youth AR missed it. Problem was, the field was at an angle to the fence line surrounding the park, and my perspective was off. Once I blew the whistle, I couldn't un-blow it; I could only apologize.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Paul,
Yes they can. The referee has the final authority to make all decisions concerning play. The AR is there to provide additional information which will assist the referee in making the correct decision.

Now, having said that, if the referee has a fully qualified and experienced AR, it would be unusual (and somewhat risky) for them to call an offside that their AR had not indicated. Ref Voshol has given an example from personal experience of why that might be. They are fully entitled to do so, however.

If the AR is not a qualified and neutral assistant referee but what is known as a club assistant (CAR) - usually a team official, substitute or substituted player, which is fairly common at lower levels, then it may very well be the case that the CAR is not even supposed to flag for offside decisions so the referee will make all offside decisions without the benefit of a flag. Even if a CAR is authorised to indicate for offside (it depends on the local regulations or conventions) the referee in such games will obviously be more likely to overrule the flag (or lack thereof).

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
Yes that us possible as the referee has ultimate control and decision making in the game.
It rarely happens though as the AR has the better view of the offside line to make a decision. I have seen it once where an inexperienced AR was hopelessly out of position and a clear offside was not flagged. The referee called it himself.
Once or twice over many years I felt that an AR should have flagged for offside yet did not do so. I was not 100% sure so I did not call it.
It usually happens the other way in that an AR flags for offside yet the referee overrules the AR by waving the flag down as he has seen a condition that makes it onside such as a deliberate play by a defender etc.

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Offside Question?

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

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