Setup: I was A/R, flagged an “offside” infraction, referee didn’t see my flag, ball went on down the field toward defender’s goal. I kept holding my flag up like a good, little soldier. Another defender came in, got the ball, and was fouled( yellow card issued). I still held my flag. Referee (his back to me, in far quadrant) made note of infraction on his paper, signaled start of play, ball moved down the field, and play was off and running. I finally dropped my flag as the blood was draining and making me light headed.
My opposite A/R never echoed my signal – which might have helped, granted. And I was surprised that not one player or coach hollered, “look at your A/R” (which might have help also). But the fact is that since the offside penalty should have stopped play and there was a subsequent yellow card given, it would seem that the yellow card was negated (or should have been negated) because of the foul. (but, since the referee didn’t call it, then I guess it wasn’t a foul after all – sort of like, “if a tree falls the words and no one hears it” scenario)
Question is this: how long does an A/R actually hold his/her flag? Play did technically go in favor of the defenders (as it should with an offside call. If a referee ignores the A/R’s signal, and subsequent fouls occur (in this case, a yellow card issued), is there anything an A/R should do to bring attention to this? (and yes, I am a firm believer in the adage that an A/R is there to assist, not insist – I’m just looking for advice on how to handle situations like this if it comes up again)
Answer (October 2, 2007):
You would appear to have broken one of the prime commandments of the assistant referee by INsisting on a call rather than ASsisting. No matter that the other AR did not mirror your flag and the referee ignored it totally, the AR does not hold the flag up until his/her arm drains of blood, except in three situations:
- OFFSIDE . . ., but ONLY if the attacking team still in possession
- Ball out of bounds and comes back on the field
- Violent conduct that the referee did not see
You will find the following information in the 2007 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” now available for purchase on the ussoccer.com website:
6.4 MISSED ASSISTANT REFEREE SIGNALS
If the assistant referee signals a ball out of play, but the referee does not see the signal for an extended period, during which play is stopped and restarted several times, the assistant referee should lower the flag. The FIFA Referee Committee has declared that it is impossible for the referee to act on the assistant referee’s signal after so much play. If the referee misses the assistant referee’s signal for offside, the assistant referee should stand at attention with the flag raised until the defending team gains clear possession or until a goal kick or throw-in is awarded to the defending team. To avoid such situations, the referee should make eye contact with the assistant referees as often as possible. In addition, the assistant referees must be alert for and mirror each other’s signals if needed to assist the referee.The assistant referee should maintain a signal if a serious foul or misconduct is committed out of the referee’s sight or when a goal has been scored illegally. The referee should cover this situation during the pregame conference with the assistant referees.
So, in line with the last paragraph of the quote, what were the referee’s pregame instructions? (A) There weren’t any at all (bad ref, no donut), (B) there were instructions which the AR followed to no avail (also bad ref), or (C) there were instructions and the AR didn’t follow them (no donut for the AR).
Resolve this problem and the bad situation goes away.