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Question Number: 32894

Mechanics 11/25/2018

RE: select Under 18

Gary of nashua, nh usa asks...

A fellow referee told me today I was running an 'opposite diagonal'. Wasn't too sure exactly what she meant. I positioned myself to run diagonally away from the ball, anticipating its drop point and attempting to not clog the passing lanes. I felt a had a good perspective, and while not always seeing the ar, consistently checking him down. also, never felt like I got in the players way.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Most refs follow a pattern roughly from the center circle to the left hand side of the goal area, as seen looking at the net.

If you were on a path going toward the right side of the goal, that would be the reverse diagonal. Nothing wrong with it. But if you decide to run the reverse, your AR's should also be running a reverse pattern. They would run on the side line to the left of the center line instead of the right, as viewed facing the field. That way they are on the opposite side of the goal from you when play goes toward the goal, and keep the play between you for two sets of eyes from opposite directions.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
There is a section of the Laws of the Game document entitled 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials.' The first section is called 'Positioning, Movement and Teamwork,' and gives the IFAB's recommended guidelines for referees, AR's and AAR's which I think you might find useful and instructive. As it states (in part):

''- The play should be between the referee and the lead AR
- The lead AR should be in the referee's field of vision so the referee should usually use a wide diagonal system
- Staying towards the outside of the play makes it easier to keep play and the lead AR in the referee's field of vision''

On the following page is a diagram showing the recommended diagonal patrol path for referees which as ref Voshol says, takes you to the left side of the goal as you look at it. If officiating with assistant referees who are (again as recommended) patrolling the 'right hand' touchline then you need to use the recommended diagonal in order to keep the play between you and the AR. Running the opposite diagonal would take you to the right hand side of the goal and mean the AR's would have to be on the opposite side.

Most referees and AR's use the recommended patrol paths, unless there is some reason (field, crowd conditions etc) not to do so. There is nothing technically wrong with running the opposite diagonal and if you don't have AR's it really only affects you, it's just a little unusual that's all.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gary ,
If we assume you are a FIFA CR with two ARs possibly a fourth, it is different then if you are one of two referees in high school or working a game as a single official ? There are rationals for altering the normal diagonal, pitch condition, wind, sun, in order to be able to view play. Without viewing you it would be difficult to see if what you were doing was effective or flawed or a mixture but it sounds like you were doing your best for the match? Staying out of the passing lanes, keeping eye contact with the ARs learning to grasp patterns and know when running straight is better than following to recover or get to a better angle of view. I like to lead play and anticipate but that requires a skilled set of teams to follow through tactically and make quality decisions on the ball in both giving and receiving passes. Lesser skilled teams the ball or play direction can suddenly change which is why the normal diagonal works the best MOST of the time! There is a lot of match play marked out statistically that has determined the overall best areas of the field to cover under most conditions be it at free kicks, corner kicks throw ins or general buildup play. Even recent LAW changes now with say Kicks offs going backwards or FKs occurring off touchlines has lead to slight changes in position to start a match or prepare for a restart. A key though in having the advantages of ARS you use their vision to magnify the opportunities for your own to get it right. There is no ego involve cooperation and adherence to mechanics helps a match go smoothly.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The optimum position for referees is one where
1. The referee can see the ball and most of the players to make a call on any play
2. Positioned to view most challenges from a side on view giving a good angle of view
3. The referee has his lead assistant referee in view between himself and play
4. He has a different angle of view from his lead assistant.
5. He is not in the way of play or subsequent play.
So when the referee can achieve all five points he has a perfect view to make game decisions.
To achieve that it is advised that referees uses the diagonal control path which is from one corner flag to the opposite flag.
Many times that will take the referee away from the ball yet play will then be close to an assistant who can be expected to assist the referee in decision making.
My advice is to watch any high level game and you will see that the referee is extremely close to play on the left side of the goal posts on his diagonal and nowhere near as close on the right hand side of the goal as that is adequately viewed / covered by the lead assistant.
Now referees do not have to be a slave to the system and in fact the best referees are able to anticipate play to put them in the optimum position. It is also expected that referees will and should come off the diagonal regularly to assist in decision making. Here is an image of that movement
A prerequisite of the system is good fitness and tactical awareness. Getting in wide and deep towards the goal line can be beneficial yet it also place the referee way out of position on a quick save and punt upfield. It is such situations that the referee has to read play and perhaps anticipate an outcome if the way okay may unfold.
The final bit of advice is to review each game and to ask oneself what key decision were made and what decisions were missed or not viewed adequately. Where was I positioned at that time and what could I see or not see.
In a recent PL game that I viewed a fairly blatant penalty was missed. When I looked at it the referee was imo a much too central position behibd play and had he been wider, deeper and to the left of the penalty area he would have had a better angle of view of the contact area rather than looking at it directly from behind the two players.
Sometimes it just happens due to the way play unfolds. I remark now after a lot of experience that my positioning places me in good positions. From time to time though I still get out of position and I have to accept the consequence.

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