Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

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Referees are a huge part of soccer and without them, the game could not exist. During a match there is more than just one referee that can make decisions, they have help in the form of the assistant referee.

We will now have a look at all of the signals that assistant referees make during a game of soccer and how they motion each of the signals to the main referee.

The flag of the assistant referee has to be always visible to the main referee. It has to be unfolded and be as still as possible, even when the assistant is running. When there is a signal to be made, the assistant has to stop running, turn and face the referee, make eye contact, and then raise the flag on purpose but not in a silly way so that it gets the attention of the main referee. They say that the flag should be an extension of the assistant’s arm when being used.

The assistant has to put his/her flag up by using the hand that is going to be used for the signal that is to come next. However, if that can not happen, then the assistant’s other hand has to be used for the signal that is to come next. The assistant should then change the flag to his/her opposite hand and have the flag down below their waist.

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.

Now we will look at all the signals that assistant referees make during a match.

Throw-In

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

During a game, when the soccer ball goes out of play near to where the assistant is standing, he/she must then make a signal to tell the players as well as the main referee which direction the throw-in should go (which team takes the throw).

When the soccer ball goes out of play when the assistant is not near it, and it is clear which team will get the ball, the assistant will make a direct signal to show both players and the referee which way the throw-in will go.

If the soccer ball goes out of play and the assistant is far from where it crossed the line, however, the ball still looks like it is in play or if there is any doubt in the assistant’s mind, he/she has to raise their flag to tell the main referee that it ball is out, look at the main referee and then follow the referee’s signal. Assistant Referee ~ Signals – YouTube

Goal Kick

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

When the soccer ball goes out of play (goal line) and it is close to the assistant referee, he/she must then make a signal with either their left or right hand to tell the referee and players that it is a goal kick.

If the soccer ball crosses the goal line and it is close to the position of the assistant however the ball still looks to be in play, the assistant has to first raise the flag to tell the referee the ball is not in play and then to imply that it is a goal kick.

If the soccer ball happens to cross the goal line and the assistant’s position is far from where the ball crossed, they have to raise their flag to tell the referee that the ball is now out, while making eye contact and then follow the main referee’s decision. The assistant can also make a signal if it is deemed that the decision is a clear and obvious call. Goal Kick Laws of the Game Assistant Referee Signals – YouTube

Corner Kick

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

When the soccer ball goes out of play (goal line) and it is close to the assistant referee, he/she must then make a signal with either their left or right hand to tell the referee and players that it is a corner kick.

If the soccer ball crosses the goal line and it is close to the position of the assistant however the ball still looks to be in play, the assistant has to first raise the flag to tell the referee the ball is not in play and then to imply that it is a corner kick.

If the soccer ball happens to cross the goal line and the assistant’s position is far from where the ball crossed, they have to raise their flag to tell the referee that the ball is now out, while making eye contact and then follow the main referee’s decision. The assistant can also make a signal if it is deemed that the decision is a clear and obvious call. Corner Kick Laws of the Game Assistant Referee Signals – YouTube

Offside

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

The very first thing that the assistant referee has to do after they have deemed a player to be offside, is to raise their flag. The assistant will then use his/her flag to tell the main referee which area of the field was the player offside.

If the main referee does not see the assistant’s flag has been raised, then the assistant must keep the flag raised and continue to keep signaling until the main referee sees that the flag is raised or that the soccer ball is now in possession of the team that is now defending.

When the time comes for the assistant to raise their flag, it must be done with their right hand. By doing this is gives the assistant a better sight of the field. Offside Laws of the Game Assistant Referee Signals – YouTube

Substitutions

When soccer teams decide it is time to make some changes to their team during a match, they will make what is called a substitution. When this happens the assistant first has to be told of this by the person who is acting as the fourth official. 

The assistant referee has to then make a signal to the main referee when there is a stoppage in play. The assistant referee will not have to go to the middle of the pitch (halfway line) and this is because the fourth official is the one charged with doing the entire substitution action.

However if for some reason there is no fourth official present for the match, the assistant referee has to help with all of the substitution actions. When this happens the main referee has to wait until the assistant referee is back in their normal position before play can resume. Substitution Laws of the Game Assistant Referee Signals – YouTube

Fouls

Assistant Referee Signals- The Complete Guide

The last signal that an assistant referee has to make is when a foul is committed on the pitch. When this happens he or she must immediately raise their flag and when the foul is committed out of the referee’s vision and has to do so in such a way so that the main referee can see the flag.

In other situations, the assistant referee has to wait until the main referee wants their opinion on a situation or if they are asked if they saw what foul was committed and by which player if the referee did not see it.

If that happens then the assistant referee has to report what they have seen or heard between the players that were involved to the main referee.

There are a few things that the assistant referee has to clarify first before they can raise their flag, however. First is did the offense occur out of the view of the referee or was the view of the foul obstructed or would the referee not played advantage had he/she seen the foul in the build-up.

If there has been misconduct or a foul has been committed by a player, the assistant referee has to raise their flag with the same hand that is going to be used for the rest of the signal, this is because it gives a very clear sign as to which player was fouled.

The assistant referee also has to make eye contact with the main referee and when a foul is committed wave their flag back and forth to signal a foul has been committed and if necessary the assistant can use an electronic beep signal in which the main referee can then know that a foul has been committed.

Lastly, the assistant has to use a technique called the wait and see the technique. This is to allow the play to continue on and not put their flag up to indicate a foul when the team that had the player fouled has a distinct advantage in play. When this happens, it is critical for the assistant to maintain eye contact with the main referee. Foul Laws of the Game Assistant Referee Signals – YouTube

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