Assistant Referee Signals

NOTE: Information found in this article was cited from the official “Laws of the Game” which can be found on FIFA.com.

The assistant referee’s flag must always be visible to the referee, unfurled and still whilst running. When making a signal, the assistant referee must stop running, face the field of play, make eye contact with the referee and raise the flag with deliberate (not hasty or exaggerated) motions. The flag should be like an extension of the arm.

The assistant referees must raise the flag using the hand that will also be used for the next signal in a sequence. If circumstances change and the other hand must be used for the next signal, the assistant referee should move his flag to the opposite hand below the waist.

Assistant Referee Signal Throw In

Throw-In

When the ball crosses the touch line near to the assistant referee’s position, the assistant referee must make a direct signal to indicate the direction of the throw-in.

When the ball crosses the touch line far from the assistant referee’s position and the throw-in decision is an obvious one, the assistant referee must also make a direct signal to indicate the direction of the throw-in.

When the ball crosses the touch line far from the assistant referee’s position but the ball appears still to be in play or if the assistant referee is in any doubt, the assistant referee must raise his flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, make eye contact with the referee and follow the referee’s signal.

Assistant Referee Signal Goal Kick

Goal Kick

When the ball crosses the goal line near to the assistant referee’s position, the assistant referee must make a direct signal with his/her right hand (better line of vision) to indicate a goal kick.

When the ball crosses the goal line near to the assistant referee’s position but the ball appears still to be in play, the assistant referee must first raise his/her flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, then indicate it is a goal kick.

When the ball crosses the goal line far from the assistant referee’s position, the assistant referee must raise his/her flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, make eye contact and follow the referee’s decision. The assistant referee may also make a direct signal if the decision is an obvious one.

Assistant Referee Signal Corner Kick

Corner Kick

When the ball crosses the goal line near to the assistant referee’s position, the assistant referee must make a direct signal with his right hand (better line of vision) to indicate a corner kick.

When the ball crosses the goal line near to the assistant referee’s position but the ball appears still to be in play, the assistant referee must first raise his/her flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, then indicate it is a corner kick.

When the ball crosses the goal line far from the assistant referee’s position, the assistant referee must raise his/her flag to inform the referee that the ball is out of play, make eye contact and follow the referee’s decision. The assistant referee may also make a direct signal if the decision is an obvious one.

Assistant Referee Signal Offside

Offside

The first action the assistant referee makes after an offside decision is to raise his/her flag. He/She then uses his/her flag to indicate the area of the pitch in which the offence occurred.

If the flag is not immediately seen by the referee, the assistant referee must keep signalling until it has been acknowledged or the ball is clearly in the control of the defending team.

The flag must be raised using the right hand, giving the assistant referee a better line of vision.

Assistant Referee Signal Substitution

Substitution

When dealing with substitutions, the assistant referee must first be informed by the fourth official. The assistant referee must then signal to the referee at the next stoppage in the match. The assistant referee does not need to move to the halfway line as the fourth official carries out the substitution procedure.

If there is no fourth official, the assistant referee must assist with substitution procedures. In this case, the referee must wait until the assistant referee is back in position before restarting play.

Assistant Referee Signal Attention

Fouls

The assistant referee must raise his/her flag when a foul or misconduct is committed in his/her immediate vicinity or out of the referee’s vision. In all other situations, he/she must wait and offer his/her opinion if it is required. If this is the case, the assistant referee must report what he/she has seen and heard and which players are involved to the referee.

Before signalling for an offence, the assistant referee must determine that:

  • the offence was out of the view of the referee or the referee’s view was obstructed
  • the referee would not have applied advantage if he/she had seen the offence

When a foul or misconduct is committed, the assistant referee must:

  • raise his/her flag with the same hand that will also be used for the remainder of the signal, this gives the referee a clear indication as to who was fouled
  • make eye contact with the referee
  • give his/her flag a slight wave back and forth (avoiding any excessive or aggressive movement)
  • use the electronic beep signal, if necessary

The assistant referee must use the “wait and see technique” in order to allow play to continue and not raise his/her flag when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from the advantage. In this case, it is very important for the assistant referee to make eye contact with the referee.

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