I’ve never been faced with this issue before in thousands of games with perhaps hundreds of referees.
I was the center referee in a U14 Boys game. During the game, I noticed my AR was substantially away from even with the second to last defender(STLD); even to the point where the STLD would be at midfield, my AR would be even with the defending team’s eighteen-yard line.
I ran over during a stop in play and asked what was wrong, whether he could continue, etc. and was told in no uncertain terms that he “was fine and he could see offsides just fine”. I told him he needed to stay even with the second to last defender, and he just shrugged his shoulders and dismissed any more of the discussion.
At numerous points during the second half, even after I persistently pointed at him when a signal was necessary and he was out of position (e.g. ball goes over the goal line, he is standing with his feet wider than shoulder length at the eighteen as if stretching), he was never in position. It even got to the point where, if he WOULD signal for a player in an offside position, he would quickly snap the flag up and down and make no further signal. Or he would be chatting with the coach while active play was taking place mere yards from his touchline. He essentially was having a hissing fit on the sidelines for me calling him out for his poor performance, and doing whatever he wanted.
My question: what recourse does a center referee have to deal with a disruptive and possibly subversive Assistant Referee. During the game, after him telling me that he was just fine in seeing offsides from wherever he was, I considered asking him to recuse himself and leave the game. He was THAT disruptive, even to the point where minor mistakes I made (e.g. in signaling the end of the game with my whistle, upon blowing it the first time and holding my hands out, I blew the whistle out of my mouth and was forced to pick it up from the ground to finish the whistle signal – after this), I was in perfect position to witness this AR turn to the coach and mock me
USSF answer (October 29, 2009):
As stated in Law 6, “In the event of undue interference or improper conduct [by an assistant referee], the referee will relieve an assistant referee of his duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities.” You probably should have dismissed the AR at halftime. That way you could have appointed a club AR and take over the duties of the AR for offside.
In addition, considering the behavior of the AR in question, the referee in such a situation could also proceed against the AR under the terms of US Soccer Policy 531-10, Misconduct of a Game Official. The policy is contained in the Referee Administrative Handbook, which can be downloaded from the Instructional Materials section of the referee program pages at www.ussoccer.com.