In a recent game, Blue has a throw-in approximately 6 yards from Yellow’s goal line. Players for both teams are gathered on the 18. The CR is about 28 yards out, watching the players in the middle.
One option for the AR is to be in line with the 2nd to last defender on the 18, watching for offside. Yes, we know you cannot be offside on a throw-in, but there is opportunity for the ball to be thown to the middle of the field and played by someone there to another player who could now be in an offside position.
Another option for the AR is to be positioned between the player making the throw-in and the corner flag. This position allows the AR to keep all players and the ball between the AR and the CR.
1) In the absence of the CR assuming responsibility for the offside calls and instructing the AR to go to the corner, which option would be the best position for the AR?
2) In this particular case, does it make sense for the CR to move to the 18 and cover the offside calls as well as the play, or should the CR stay back in order to have a better angle to watch the play?
USSF answer (March 11, 2009):
You seem to have set up a false dichotomy. The assistant referee’s position on a throw-in is always “even with the second-to-last defender or the ball, whichever is closer to the goal line.” In cases where the second-last defender is farther downfield (i .e., farther away from the goal line than the ball), then the rule still applies, but with the proviso that the AR cannot be where the ball is since that is also where the thrower is. Accordingly, the general rule is modified slightly as “even with the second to last defender or the ball, whichever is closer to the goal line, and also between the thrower and the AR’s goal line.”
What this means in practice is that, if the second-last defender is closer, then the AR is even with that defender which, by necessity, places him between the thrower and the goal line. If the second-last defender is upfield, the AR is simply between the thrower and the goal line. In either case, the AR must be prepared to adjust based on movement of the ball and the second-to-last defender as a result of the throw-in. What the AR must not do in an attempt to be even with the ball is to stand next to the thrower or even with the thrower but way off the touchline — the AR must still be on the touchline.
For examples, see the diagrams in the USSF publication “Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials” 2008-2009 edition, pp. 17, 18, 31-34.
The referee should be in a place where he/she can see where play is and where it is going, can see the AR, and is not in space the players need to use.