Reproduced with thanks to Warrington RA
By Ian Bonney
The position you hold as an Assistant Referee is just as important as that of a Referee. Also it is my belief that the job of an Assistant Referee can be more difficult but more enjoyable than that of a Referee during a cup final
Firstly we will list the different signals that the Assistant Referee will make
Watch for the flag up!
This is the most basic signal the Assistant will make. By putting the flag up, they are indicating to the Referee that play needs to be stopped for some reason. Typically, when the Assistant sees something, they will put up the flag and, after the Referee blows the whistle, will indicate what they saw. If the Referee does not see the flag, the Assistant will typically begin waving it to attract the Referee's eye
One of the two main jobs of the Assistant is to indicate when the ball is out of bounds and how the game should proceed. Once the Referee has blown the whistle, the Assistant will indicate how to proceed:
If the Assistant raises the flag at a 45-degree angle and points it horizontally along the touchline, they are indicating a throw-in. The team attacking in the direction they are pointing takes the throw
If the Assistant stands near the goal line and points at the goal, they are signalling for a goal kick
If the Assistant stands near the goal line and points at the corner flag, they are signalling for a corner kick
Watch for offside
This is initially indicated by a flag straight up in the air, to indicate to the Referee that play must be halted. When the Referee calls the offside with a whistle, the Assistant then holds the flag in one of three positions in front of them to indicate where on the field the offside occurred, and thus where the ball should be placed for the free kick
The below signal is the first signal you should adopt when giving offside:
Then you should adopt one of the following three signals depending on the position on the pitch that the offside occurs in comparison to your position
Watch for substitutions
If the Assistant holds his flag above his head with both hands, he is indicating to the Referee that a substitution is being performed and that play should not be started until it is finished
Watch for the goal signal
When the Assistant thinks a goal has been scored, they will lower the flag, optionally may point to center with their hand, and sprint back to the centre line. If they want to dispute the goal however, they will put the flag up and stay where they are
The Free Kick signal
When the Assistant Referee believes a foul has been committed, he will wave the flag repeatedly to attract the Referee’s attention. Please be ready for your Referee to play an advantage and in this case the Assistant will put down the flag and continue moving forward to get back level with the second last defender
Watch for the penalty kick signal
This can vary from region to region. Generally, if a foul is called by the Referee and it is inside the penalty area the AR will move toward the corner flag. If the AR stays where they are then it indicates the foul was outside the penalty area. The Referee can then determine the appropriate restart. Other possible signals for penalty kicks include holding the flag horizontally across the chest or running to the corner flag and hiding their flag behind their back
To flag for the penalty, this is the signal you will adopt:
Watch for the miscellaneous signal
When the Assistant simply keeps the flag straight up after the whistle is blown, he is indicating he needs to talk to the Referee. The Assistant may show this signal if, for example, a player begins abusing him or he sees outside interference. In particular, if he wishes to indicate that a player deserves a yellow or red card, he will place his hand over his chest badge
When looking for offside ...
... do not forget that we must also consider whether the player is interfering with play or if they are taking part in that particular phase in play. The way that a player would interfere with play is:
• If the player touches the ball from an offside position
• If they affect a defenders movement within that phase of play when being offside
• If they obscure the view of a Goalkeeper from a goal-bound effort
You should also remember that a player is not offside in the following cases:
• He is in his own half of the field of play
• He is level with the second last defender
• He is level with the last two opponents
When the ball is played by the red number 11, the red number 10 is clearly offside. In this case the Assistant Referee will raise his flag and signal the offside and the Referee will award an indirect free-kick to the blue team. However in this case if the ball is played through and the red number 8 receives the pass, it is play on as red number 10 is not interfering with play
In this instance the blue number 3 has failed to move up with the rest of his defensive line. In this case no decision is given, and the Referee allows play on and allows the red number 9 is allowed to continue
In this instance, despite the number 9 being in front of the blue number 4, the decision is an offside. The reason in this case is that no goalkeeper is in the goal for the blue team. This is where the phrase 'second last defender' comes from as the last defender is the goalkeeper
The highlight of the season to date has been the vast increase of over 45% in the recruitment of referees at Level Nine – the first step on the road to becoming a fully-fledged referee – with 5,197 new recruits taking to the field up and down the country to significantly boost The FA’s ‘Get Into Refereeing’ campaign, in association with Carlsberg.
At the turn of the year total qualified referee numbers were found to have risen by nearly 9% to 25,502, compared to the same period for 2007/08.
Female referees have also increased in number, rising 13%, whilst the total number of new trainee female referees for the year is 407, up 17%.
Respect has also, this season, become a compulsory module in The FA’s training courses for all new referees and coaches (over 25,000) coming into the game each season.
Premier League referee Chris Foy said: “Respect isn’t a campaign, it isn’t a gimmick, it’s a programme and it’s working.
“In my county we have seen a 22% increase in referees, which is great. A lot of those are young referees who want to get involved. I think that has just got to be good for refereeing and good for football.
“From top-flight to grassroots we have a seen a decrease in the number of yellow cards for dissent which has been wonderful because it is one of the reasons people were leaving football, especially referees, because they were getting abuse.”
Results for the first half of 2009/10 have shown that in the professional game dissent cautions are down on figures from the same period in 2008/09. From the Premier League through to League Two dissent cautions have dropped by 13%.
In grassroots football the total number of cautions and misconduct is down by 9% and remain well below the levels of 2007/08 whilst dissent cautions are down by 6%. All dismissals are down by 6% and misconduct conducts charges are down by 12%. These figures continue to show a declining trend in the national game since 2007/08.
Assaults on referees are also down by 26%, with some 226 reports of incidents this season compared to 307 at the same stage last season.
In the Youth Game the introduction of designated spectator areas – often marked out with a temporary barrier – to keep supporters off the touchline is beginning to have an effect and some 10,700 people have, to date, undertaken the FA’s online Respect Parents course.
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