How to Communicate
At the recent PRO assistant referee camp the work continued on “how” to communicate with the referees to get the desired result. The areas of focus being timing, tone, and credibility. The following clip gives an example of just how influential the Assistant Referee can be on big decisions.
(Duh, but it is important that you have the audio up for these clips.)
Portland v Houston - Hard tackle
The referee blows the whistle for a hard foul then walks towards the location, giving himself time to think of the appropriate sanction. (The referee says so towards the end of the clip.)
The AR sees the reaction after the whistle, and within a second makes a very meaningful contribution. (Timing, √ )
The AR doesn’t solely state a feeling or an opinion, but rather backs it up with a fact.
“Alan [the referee], for me it’s yellow. Studs on top of the foot”.
The consideration matches the sanction requested - which matched the action that occurred on the pitch.
If you look closely, you can see a moment where the referee reaches for his back pocket. At the very least, this shows doubt, and possibly a lean towards where the referee might have gone. The Assistant Referee helps to convince the referee that yellow is the better decision.
When talking to the VAR, the referee mentions;
“Logan [the AR] had a good view….”
Given where both the referee and AR are located, you may argue that the referee has a better angle. However, the referee believed the AR was credible.
It can not be undervalued how important the choice of words are, the tone used, and the timing of delivery.
Couple all of that with accurate information, and you have excellence in Law 12 assistance.
Columbus v Sporting Kansas City - AVAR advice
Many of the same principles which apply between referee and assistant referee in terms of communication can be applied in the VOR.
For those who have not acted as a VAR, it is stressful in the main chair. It goes from zero to 100 real quick.
Here the AVAR adds vital info in a very good manner to prevent any possibility of it being missed.
Portland v Houston - AVAR Possible Offside
The two previous clips the AR or AVAR gave information to the Referee or VAR; and that advice was welcomed, accepted, and agreed upon. What happens when the members of the team view things differently?
For this we go to the booth camera, so we can see the stress the PRO VOR team was under. The AVAR did just enough to avoid a send down. The VAR may not have felt it was the correct decision, so the AVAR needs to be convincing. One way to do that would be to specifically address what the VAR had concerns about vs just restating an opinion:
The VAR mentioned the line on the field (tell him that the field turf lines don't extend as clearly as grass lines)
The VAR mentioned the shoulder vs the leg and shoulder of the attacker (tell him that parts of the body off the ground are optically less clear to judge position to the teams and viewers)
The VAR mentioned to the referee that there was a debate on the angle (tell him if you are debating an answer with a less than optimal angle being the best option, we can't be changing an on field decision)
In the end, you want to give something that says WHY it's too close to call or WHY it's not a clear and obvious answer.
What Would You Do?
Always good to run clip from the USL that features a deflection or deliberate play scenario to keep everyone on their toes. What would you do on this incident from Birmingham v Hartford? (Although it is a tight decision, assume the attacker was in an offside position, the AR was in a better position than the TV camera.)
Winner - MLS Call of the Week #14 - Phillipe Briere
Winner - MLS Call of the Week #15 - Ben Hall-Volpenhein
MLS Call of the Week #16
Only 6 games in Week #16, but we had plenty of good work on display.
Brian Poeschel in Vancouver v Colorado keeps the flag down on a sneaky little pass that makes this decision even more difficult. Vancouver does not capitalize on Brian’s charity.
Logan Brown also keeps his flag down, on a too close to call offside decision. Benefit of doubt to the attack, for sure.
Adam Wienckowski is our third flag down champion. You have to wait until you see the side angle to spot the near side defender that keeps him on. Does that attacker even touch the ball?