Where should the AR stand when indicating a goal kick? The Guide To Procedures does not specify a position. In our training classes, the instructor said that it is customary to be standing in the corner behind the corner flag when signaling. The rationale given for this is that the AR should have traveled all the way to the goal line to verify the ball was out, and therefore that is where he is left standing and thus the signal should be given there. However, there are a few reasons to challenge this.
One reason is consistency. For all other indications of ball placement by the AR, the position is directed to be perpendicular to the point where the offense (foul, offside, misconduct) occured. In an offside situation where the AR is still moving with the players while waiting for active involvement, once that involvement occurs, the AR moves back to the point of the restart and indicates the restart by pointing his flag. So it would be more consistent to have the AR move to a point perpendicular with the top of the goal area and indicate the goal kick restart with his flag (acknowledging that while the ball can be placed anywhere in the goal area, in practice it is rarely placed far from the top of the goal area). This procedure would have the additional benefit of making the restart more clearÊto all participants and spectators who may have missed the flag signal: the restart is a goal kick when the AR is at the 6, and it is a corner kick when the AR is at the corner. As an aside, I have noticed while watching EPL games that the EPL ARs signal goal kicks when perpendicular to the top of the goal area.
Another reason to challenge this convention is that due to a shortage of referees, many refs are pressed into service to handle multiple games a day. A referee who wishes to follow the proper procedures finds himself running needlessly all the way to the corner to indicate each goal kick, even on blasts that are taken from 30 yards out. While it might seem trivial to save 6 yards on every run down the touch line to indicate a goal kick, it would serve to save energy that is wasted unnecessarily in the desire to follow the customary procedures.
USSF answer (December 19, 2007):
We see no reason at all to challenge your instructor’s statement that it is customary to stand at or very near to the corner flag. As your instructor said, the AR is expected to run each and every ball to the goal line, no matter how “certain” it is that it will either pass out of play or that the goalkeeper will get it before any opposing player does. The Guide does not give this guidance to the AR for ANY restart. Nowhere does the Guide specify this for either the referee or the AR, because where a restart is signaled is a function of positioning during the dynamic play which immediately precedes whatever event causes the restart.
Your point about consistency is actually apt — though not for the reasons you suggest — even though there is a major difference between fouls or misconduct and a ball passing out of play over the goal line. The AR must be at the place to indicate as closely as possible where the infringement will be punished or the restart will be taken. The only possible exception would be in the case of offside, which will often not be punished at a point perpendicular to the AR, but at a point farther back up the field. (Remember that the restart for offside is taken at the place where the player was when he or she was when the the ball was last played by a teammate, not where the ball was received or the player finally became actively engaged.)
What you describe as needless expenditure of energy is what we think of as doing the job right. If there is a shortage of referees, help out by doing some recruiting to make the job easier for you and your colleagues.