The focus this week will be a little different than usual as we take a special look at AR responsibilities on Law 12 decisions. Former FIFA World Cup and PRO assistant referee Joe Fletcher takes over this week’s report to summarize what are best practice from both the referee and assistant referees, especially dealing with Law 12. It is excellent material that can be used at all levels.
We did keep Call of the Week #11, because we just can’t help but point out some really excellent work and we know that winning the coveted weekly prize feels real good.
Best Practices for AR Responsibilities
In no specific order:
The Referees will be open to receiving information that occurs within the AR’s area of responsibility. The ARs will be accepting if the referee chooses not to act on the advice of the assistant referee
Match control is best achieved when decisions are believed to have come from the referee. Thus, the goal for the AR is to get the information to the referee in such a manner that the referee can blow the whistle without anybody being able to tell that the decision actually came from the assistant referee
The ARs must give complete information, which includes any appropriate misconduct
It depends on the situation when information should be communicated, ranging from immediate to ½ - 1 second delay.
The AR must still flag in places where the world would expect to see a flag
The AR must always answer a question from the referee about a decision, even if that answer is “I don’t know” or “I didn’t see it”. In this situation, silence is unacceptable
The choice of words used is as important as the tone used to deliver the message
Of course, the pre-match discussion will give more specific guidance for what is needed on the day, as there will be differences depending on who the referee is and who the assistant referees are.
Referee and AR Agree
Law 12 decision. In the penalty area. Contact happens. The AR has a clear view. The AR must give an opinion. The referee agrees with the opinion. Both AR and referee have the same decision. The timing of the input is excellent. The tone of the AR shows confidence. The AR demonstrates that he “has the same bar” for what is a foul as the referee does.
Penalty Area Incident
Referee approximately 25-30 yards from the incident. The AR has a decent angle of view and realizes that Law 12 is the priority since offside is not a consideration at this moment.
The AR does not want a penalty kick, which is the correct decision, but the AR should be voicing this decision immediately.
(Referee can accept or decline)
Good Proximity / Bad View
Since the position of the AR is mainly prescribed, there will be times where the AR cannot see the incident, even when they have good proximity to the incident.
This is not a comfortable place for the assistant referee, to know that they must give law 12 help, can smell that something has taken place, but cannot give 100% information because the AR is not 100% certain of the correct call.
In cases such as these:
If asked by the Referee (or the referee looks at you with a face that screams help), the AR must answer “I don’t know” or “I didn’t see”
Saying “No No” at the beginning might make the referee think “No foul”. Avoid giving anything definitive when you are not 100% sure
Avoid long drawn out explanations after the incident. We do not want to distract the referee from the next phase of play
AR Input - The Complete Package
There are many excellent takeaways from this clip. (Kindly ignore the work of the VAR and focus on the exchange between the Referee and Assistant Referee.)
In the penalty Area, match changing incident, the AR accepts his responsibility and gives excellent input on this decision. [Referee agreed with the decision]
The AR gave input immediately
The AR sounded clear and confident
After the whistle, the AR says the Referee’s name, gets his attention, and begins to explain that he has misconduct….however the referee must deal with a player on the field. So, the AR smartly waits, and at the next opportunity ensures that this message gets to the referee.
The AR states that he wants a yellow card. The Referee disagrees, as is their right
The AR then states his considerations as to why he felt the need for a yellow card
The Referee acknowledges the AR’s advice, and makes a final decision
Winner - MLS Call of the Week #10 - Nick Uranga
MLS Call of the Week #11
It is rare enough for an assistant referee to get two shots at winning Call of the Week during a season, but how about double the chance during the same week! Chris Elliott gives us double the pleasure with two excellently executed delayed office flags during the Atlanta v Toronto midweek match. Sandwiched in between is Gianni Facchini, because we also like to reward close offside decisions where the flag is held down like he did in Dallas v NY Red Bulls.