Sunday, September 12, 2021

Corner Flag

As a player, have you taken a corner kick? Has a corner flag post every got in a way of your kick? Even if it gets in the way, a player cannot move it. But what if they did, especially if it is a moveable flag post? As the referee, do you tell them to put the flag back?

Moving a flag might look like a minor offence. You may not want to irritate a player by telling them to put the flag back. But what if they scored from the corner kick? How would you explain to the defending team? The defending team might very well complain that the restart was illegal.

So keep things simple. Take care of small things so you don't have to worry about a possible big issue. Watch the video below. Tell the player to place the flag back before the kick.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Securing 10 yards

How do you ensure that the attacking team gets 10 yards upon a free kick? Sometimes it takes a lot of work to move the wall that does not want to move back. The wall says they're too far from the ball. The attackers say the wall is too close.

But the basics are the same. If you determine that the wall is too close and that you need to get involved, make sure that everyone knows that the game would not resume without your whistle. Tell the attackers it is on your whistle. Tell the GK it is on your whistle. After that, tell the wall exactly where you want them to be. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Wall Management

After you call a foul in the attacking area, you often have to manage the defensive wall. Besides making sure that the wall is at least 10 yards away from the free kick location, what else do you have to manage? On a contested game, there may be extracurricular incidents after you call a foul, away from the ball. This is why you should always keep as many players as possible in your view. You also want to keep your assistant referee in your view.

Below is a video example of how a referee could have done better with his wall management. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021


Ask yourself. When you are an assistant referee and the ball is on the other side of the field, how much attention do you pay to the ball/play versus the offside line in your half of the field? You know you need to be aligned at all times. But you know the ball is unlikely to come to your half of the field.

But incorrect alignment can be costly. Not paying attention to the offside line can easily leads you to not know who was onside and who was offside at the moment of the last touch. Watch the video below. An unexpected ball forces the AR to make an offside position. Unfortunately, he was not aligned. He was watching the ball and not the offside line. So he ends up making an incorrect decision.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Wall management

When you manage the wall upon a free kick, which side of the wall do you go to? Have you ever made a conscious decision about it? 

Usually, it is better go outside (closer to the touchline) than inside (closer to the middle of the field). This is because if you manage a wall from inside, your back is turned to the rest of the field. What are you missing when you have your back turned to the rest of the field? Especially when a free kick is taken near a penalty area, you would have your back turned to the penalty area and a number of players congregating near or inside the penalty area.

If you manage the wall from outside, you can keep the penalty area and the players in your eye sight while moving the wall backwards or walking to the players in the wall.

Here is a video example of a referee having his back turned to the rest of the field. Nothing happened here. But if something had happened, he would have had to rely on his ARs and fourth official for information.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wide Diagonal

In your introductory referee class, you learned that the referee would run on a diagonal line so they can keep the play between themselves and an assistant referee. While this statement is true, the referee should not run on a diagonal "line." Their diagonal must be much wider than a line.

When a play goes to a referee quadrant, no assistant referee is close. Therefore, the referee needs to get closer to the play by going wider to their left on their diagonal line. When a play goes closer to the assistant referee, the referee still needs to increase their presence because the assistant referee frequently has to worry about offside or the ball in-and-out. This means that the referee must go wider to their right on their diagonal.

Furthermore, by having a wider diagonal, the referee is able to have a better view of an incident that could happen on the field. In the video below, the referee remains central on the field without width. As a result, when an offense occurs, he does not have good proximity. A few players are between the referee and the challenge. In addition, he is not in the best position to judge the direction of play, which is one of the criterial to decide if an offense is a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Sprinting after a foul

What do you do after you call a foul? Sometimes you want to move closer to the foul location slowly and let the players calm down themselves. If the foul is a minor one, all you have to do may be just blowing your whistle. Some other times, however, you want to sprint to the spot of the foul to show your presence and manage the players. Especially when there is a foul near a penalty area or a misconduct, you want to increase your presence.

In the video below, you will see a referee calling a foul about 12 yards away from the location. This is already good proximity. But he chooses to sprint even closer. The game was already heated. Even though the referee was making right decisions, players had complained. Therefore, his decision to move closer to the foul location was important for management. In addition, the challenge was reckless. For an important decision like this, you want to show to players that you were right there. You were so close that you missed nothing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Watching between players

When two players challenge for the ball, as a referee, we must be able to observe the space between the players. This allows us to see if the challenge is fair. If one player pushes, trips, undercuts, or holds their opponent, we can observe it well. But if the space is blocked by one of the players, we are not able to properly observe the challenge.

In order to watch the space between two players, we must use not only our agility and stamina to keep moving but also anticipation and focus. Here is a good example of a well-focused referee anticipating the next play while using his agility and stamina.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Control of the ball

One of the four criteria for DOGSO is "likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball." While there is some subjectivity in determining if the attacker who is fouled is likely to keep or gain control of the ball, sometimes the attacker's last touch on the ball before the ball is too "heavy." Because the first O of DOGSO stands for "obvious," when there is a question about the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball," then the red card for a DOGSO cannot be given.

Below is a video of the referee correctly judging that the last touch on the ball by the attacker was too heavy, negating the "obvious" goal scoring opportunity. Therefore, a yellow card for SPA, as the referee in this video gave, was the correct decision.


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Gaining advantage

"Gaining advantage" is one of three ways in which a player can be penalized for being in an offside position. This happens, for example, when a player who was in an offside position plays the ball after the ball had deflected off from the goal post. Or the goal keeper may save the ball and the ball travels to the attacking player who was originally in an offside position.

Sometimes, the attacking player was not in an offside position when the ball was last touched by their teammate. But they may be in an offside position when the deflection or the save happened. This can lead to an error if the assistant referee forgets or does not recognize that the player was originally onside.

Both good focus and proper positioning are important to avoid such a mistake. In the video below, an attacking player who was clearly onside was penalized for offside. The assistant referee was not properly positioned. When the goal keeper saved the ball, the attacker is in an offside position. However, she was originally onside. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Attempt to play

Being able to recognize a DOGSO situation is one thing. It requires the referees to correctly identify that all four criteria for DOGSO are met. But the referee must also identify if an offense was as a result of an attempt to play the ball. This is a critical decision because it can determine the color of the card. When a DOGSO offense happens because of an attempt to play the ball, then the referee issues a yellow card. If a DOGSO offense happens not because of an attempt to play the ball (e.g. pushing, pulling, holding, and handball), then a red card must be given. 

What could be a little more difficult is when an offense like tripping happens, the referee must decide if there was an attempt to play the ball. One of the cues is how the ball, the attacker, and the defender are positioned.

Check out the video below as an example.

Sunday, June 27, 2021


When players from one team feel that they should have gotten a free kick but they did not, only to give away a free kick to their opponent a few seconds after, referees must recognize that there may be some emotional outburst or frustration expressed by some players. Simply calling fouls would not be enough to manage these players. Be proactive and preventative. Increase your presence around the foul spot. Show to the players that you are in charge.

In the video below, the referee's decisions (no foul and then a foul) appear correct. But he did not recognize the level of frustration among the players in white.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Shifting focus

As an assistant referee, your positioning is prescribed. In other words, unlike the referee, you cannot choose you stand. You must position yourself in line with the second-last defender or the ball, whichever is closer to the goal line. This sometimes puts you in an awkward situation in which you are not best positioned to observe everything you must observe.

If you have a play approaching your touchline but with a possible offside situation, you must observe the play (potential foul), the touchline (potential throw-in), and the offside line (potential offside). In addition, you must watch the referee to understand what help they need and what they can and cannot see. Consequently, one of the fundamental skills of a good assistant referees is to shift focus from one area of the field to another very quickly but at the right moment. This takes practice. Even experienced referees may struggle or miss something because they were watching something else.

Below, you will find a video of an assistant referee on a youth game demonstrating a great skill of constantly shifting focus. When you are on the line next time, ask yourself if you are as attentive as this assistant referee is.