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Law VI - Helpful Information


Assistant referees, where neutral, shall draw the referees attention to any breach of the Laws of the Game of which they become aware if they consider that the referee may not have seen it, but the referee shall always be the judge of the decision to be taken.

Assistant referee signals should be restricted to those authorized by SAY (offside and the far, center, and near positions; throw-in; corner kick; goal kick; and substitution) or the USSF (foul, infringement inside the penalty area, or other signals described in the USSF Guide to Procedures), unless there is a clear need to communicate information to the players or to the referee cannot be communicated in any other way.



Assistant referees should not signal at all for fouls or misconduct that clearly occur in the sight of the referee.


If the assistant referee signals a ball out of play, but the referee does not see his signal for an extended period, during which play is stopped and restarted several times, the assistant referee should lower the flag. If the referee misses the assistant referee's flag 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 referee as often as possible. In addition, the assistant referees must be alert for an mirror each other's signal if needed to assist the referee.

The assistant referee should maintain his 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 pre-game conference with the assistant referees.

Among the specifically stated responsibilities of the assistant referee is to indicate "when a player may be penalized for being in an offside position." Because "it is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position," the assistant referee must interpret this responsibility to require that he determine not only if an attacker is in an offside position but also if that same player is involved in active play by interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in the offside position (see Law XI). The assistant referee should use his unique perspective on the touch line as a trained, neutral official and provide the appropriate signal so that the referee can make a final determination as to whether the attacker will be penalized for an offside infringement.

Where neutral assistant referees are not available, the referee may use club linesmen. Club linesmen should report to the referee before the start of the game for instructions. The referee should make it clear that the decision of the referee is final and must not be questioned. The relationship of the club linesmen to the referee must be one of assistance, without undue interference or any opposition. Club linesmen are to signal only when the ball is entirely over the goal line or touch line.


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