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Question Number: 33716

Law 6 - The Other Match Oficials 10/18/2019

RE: Younger age groups including Comp Under 12

John Lubeck of Livermore, California United States asks...

I have recently retired and one of my retirement goals was to start to ref again. I was previously a grade 9 and this year am a grade 8 starting in the competitive spring season. In the fall season, I have started centering due to necessity and take all younger games, but have had to do even 1 U9 top tier boys state cup game (as otherwise they would go without a CR). Amongst my physical age related limitations, I have distorted vision in one eye. This weekend, my junior youth AR did not signal a goal when the ball barely crossed (or did not fully cross) the goal line. Reaction from coaches was that it was clearly a goal. With my imperfect vision, I played on. Should I instead choose to stop play to discuss with the AR?

An unrelated question - If the CR clearly sees the offside foul which was not signaled (by me in error), should the CR call the foul anyway?

Thanks as always.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi John,
In answer to your goal/no goal situation - you absolutely should not be stopping play here. If you do, you've already undermined your AR because you're saying you don't trust them. If you're not certain play needs to stop, play continues.
If you have concerns that your AR may be too inexperienced/nervous to know how to handle it, then keep an eye on them immediately after. If play goes out immediately then you have a natural chance to go and talk to them - if play continues upfield I'd still have a glance or two back, and you'll see if they're standing there thinking 'what should I have done?' and talk to them as appropriate.

I'd also argue that centre refs should avoid making offside decisions when they have a NAR. Even if the CR is 100% certain, they're going to have it wrong 99% of the time. You simply have to trust your AR, even if you have doubts. With an AR you're simply not thinking about offside as much.

I have had 2 matches where I did realise during the match that my AR was simply not up to the task - one in which he'd routinely be badly out of position (if I'm trailing play as a ref, I should not be running past the AR!!!), and another where I knew the decision making was off. In those instances I started to monitor offside like I didn't have an AR at all - changed my positioning, my view and how I'd check the players, and even then I only made my own decision a couple of times when it was very clear the AR was wrong.

I know every single time the ref has overruled me, either by calilng offside when I didn't or waving my flag down (by claiming it wasn't offside - I'm not referring to times when my flag was waved down because the ref was happy the defence had intercepted), I was in perfect position with a great view, and the ref was wrong. As an AR it left me looking like an idiot, feeling like there's no point me being here - and also losing all confidence in the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
Well done on returning to the referee ranks. Your service to the game will be appreciated.
On a hairline goal decision if neither match official sees the ball clearly cross the goal line then it is play on. The game should not be stopped as there is nothing to discuss. Either the AR saw it clearly cross the goal line in which case the goal signal is given or if he does not see it then nothing with play continuing.
Same applies to the referee. If he does not see it from his position and no AR signal then he does not give it.
As to the reaction of coaches that means nothing. If they are stood at half way then how can they see it cross the line? It is simply an appeal and a guess. At the highest level the game has had to introduce technology to get these decisions 100% correct.
As to a missed offside by an assistant the referee should clearly call that if he is 100+% certain that it is the correct call in exceptional circumstances such as an inexperienced new AR or an AR badly out of position . The difficulty can be whether the CR has missed the position of a defender who is playing opponents onside (seen by the AR) which may look like offside yet the AR has the better view and he has kept the flag down.
I think in all my years refereeing I have given maybe at most two offside decisions without flags. In many of our games in our leagues we officiate as sole officials so offside is called from a referee view and as such we have got used to these calls on our own. In both instance it was new inexperienced AR early doors in games that got in the headlights so to speak. If there is doubt with an AR looking at it directly and he does not give it then so be it. When I am with ARs I always like to test myself as to how many offside I can get on my own or have given with or without flags and invariably I get one or two wrong where the flag stays down or goes up because the AR has a better view.
Also in the modern game a deliberate play resets offside or an AR can be unsure who touched it last. A senior referee told me of a situation where an attacker and a defender went up to head a ball and the CR saw it was the attacker who headed the ball on to a clear PIOP who scored. No flag yet the AR was experienced enough to not signal for the goal by the PIOP. The referee knew it was offside and then went across to consult as to whether to award the goal or not. Once it was clarified it was headed on by the attacker and not the defender the goal was disallowed. Now the CR could have called this himself yet good team work etc required that he consult and the opportunity presented to do so. If play had continued with nothing coming of it then so be it as play would not be stopped for it. If the CR was confident enough to call it on his own with no doubt then so be it. What the CR would not like to hear from the AR later that there was a defender unseen by the CR playing everyone onside.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi John,
hmm I do not think I would be commenting on distorted vision issues with coaches , lol I get enough of that if I wear glasses instead of contacts.

A referee with integrity call what he sees!
It is really just that simple.

An AR is no different except his message is ONLY for the referee to agree with or disagree with.

If your AR is uncertain, young or unskilled he or she is likely scared to make a mistake and was perhaps hoping you would do it?

In your pregame, assuming you had one? What did you discuss? Was he aware that in seeing it as goal he would move up the touchline quickly to assume a kickoff position or if the ball left the FOP but then re-entered quickly to raise the flag to get your attention?
As a CR you need to get a sense of how confident your ARs are in dealing with pressure and their understanding of the game and it's Laws. You can then assist the assisted by recognizing their vulnerabilities.

You can not not should you arbitrarily stop play and then do drop balls for inadvertent whistles as a sound --( lets check this out policy). That said, if you feel it WAS a goal then TAKE that mantle of responsibility on yourself . Stop play hold things up and have a quiet (just the two of you) discussion with the AR on what he was CONVINCED he did or did not see) If he can not substantiate it WAS a goal and you are unsure then there is no goal. If your AR admits they froze and it was a goal, then you can declare the goal restart kick off with the public appearance you worked well to get the correct restart. You must NEVER throw the AR under the bus, if you stop and try to blame the AR ,you do not deserve to be a CR.

Offside is an infringement it is not technically a foul. It simply allow the other team to gain possession because a player was over eager to attack lol

The CR ALWAYS has final say to decide to stop play be it for an offside infraction or any type of foul or misconduct .

The AR SIGNALS their thoughts by raising the flag but if the CR has information the AR does not, say the CR clearly saw the ball last went off a defender who deliberately played the ball? The CR will wave off the flag immediately. The AR might not agree but he MUST put that flag down.

If the AR is in a better position and the CR has faith the AR is aware of his duties then the CR will bide by the AR decision as he has no reason to disbelieve the flag is incorrect. INDFK out ! If for some reason the CR did go with the flag but prior to the INDFK restart the CR becomes aware the offside was not correct then a drop ball for an inadvertent whistle with some reeducation tome in the post game with the AR on offside infractions.

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