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Instructions from referees to assistants

By Walter Broeckx

When we published the referee review from the Arsenal – Burnley match it was obvious that the non decision for the handball from Burnley player Boyd in his own penalty area was the most important item.

To make it clear I will try to link to a vine  where you can see the handball yourself. It is clear that Boyd made a deliberate gesture to the ball. So it was a penalty and a yellow card which would have been his second.

I will also offer the image on the moment that Boyd touched the ball because that will give a better impression of the position of the assistant.

Arsenal burnley

I have marked the position he should have been in at that moment. Because when the ball gets kicked he is standing on the goal line but then when you see that the ball doesn’t go over the goal line you have to be back in line with the second last defender. I marked that zone with the little block at the bottom.

You can also see that Cazorla who’s head you can just see on the images would in no way be blocking his sight on the incident. Interestingly the ref is not visible in this picture.  As he should be looking at the back of the players when a corner is taken from that corner flag.  If the ball comes in from the other corner flag the task is the other way round in fact as then the ref will be looking at the faces of the players and the assistant will cover from the back.

So the ref might have missed it because the bodies between him and the handball. But to be honest… as it was a handball at such a height… he should have been able to see it unless he had positioned himself too close to a big player and stood behind him. But then it is a real poor technical mistake by the ref as you have to make sure that you run in that way that your view is not blocked. And with a corner that is rather easy as you can choose your position and adjust it if in that position you are being surrounded with players.

But as said the assistant had a clear view and should have seen it. So why didn’t he came to the assistance of the ref?

If he didn’t see it we could question his sight. And maybe the PGMOL could send him to have an eye check before next weekend.

But it could be that he did see it but didn’t signal it. Then he failed in his job as assistant.

But it also might have been that he did see it (and even said it in the ear of the ref using his microphone) but that he wasn’t allow to give it.

Now you might say: wasn’t allow to give it from whom? Well that could have been part of the pre match instructions from the referee to his assistants.

Just as managers give instructions to players the same is happening in de dressing room between the ref and his assistants. And there can be big differences between those instructions.

As I now work mostly as an assistant myself I like it most when referees tell me to be active.  But always within strict rules.

An example that most referees use for the moment in my country anyway but they are all based on the same laws and instructions from Fifa so should be the same in England and in the PL.

So most refs ask to signal fouls they cannot really see close to the assistant his area. Mostly the area is defined by the area from the touchline up to the penalty area.  This allows a ref to stay on his side and rely on the work of the assistants for calling fouls.  So assistants will not call fouls in the middle of the field unless they are sure that the ref couldn’t see it. So a striker taking the ball with his arm in the middle of the field and where the ref is in the back of this player and cannot see it, then the assistant has to take up his responsibility and signal it to the referee. So it is not a fixed line but it is down to being intelligent also and to look at not only the foul but also at the position of the referee. If there is an appeal for handball like described a good referee will immediately look at his assistant and ask for his help (or speak to him to ask him what he saw).

The instruction in the penalty area is usually that for foot fouls (tripping, kicking) the assistant doesn’t signal them first. The exception to that rule is that if there is a counter attack and the assistant is closer than the referee who for example is still running around the centre circle the assistant once again has to take his responsibility and signal the foul even foot fouls.

And then the instruction about handballs or hidden fouls is that the assistant has to signal them to the ref. If you have microphones and beeper flags you can do this by saying it to the ref: “handball -defender – penalty” and press the buzzer at the same time. Then the final decisions is still with the ref to give it or not. But as they usually say: if I am the only (idiot some add) who didn’t see it help me out and do what you should do and signal it.

If they don’t have the equipment the assistant can only signal it by raising the flag. Then the signal is clear to the whole ground of course and then still the ref can ignore it but he will carry the full blame if he was wrong.

So the final decision is always in the ‘hands’ of the referee. If the conversation between referee and assistant would have been recorded as Mike Riley once promised that would happen, then we could check if the assistant saw it and reported it or if he acted being blind. And then we will know who was really to blame for missing out on this important decision.

Whatever was the case in both cases they look foolish and incompetent.  Both looking that way or just one looking that way. That is something we will probably never know.

28 comments to Instructions from referees to assistants

  • Mike

    Similarly the offiside against Anderlecht a few days later. Simlarly the Swansea player who decided to play basketball in his own area in the last few minutes of yesterday’s game.

    Is there any wonder we think that refs have an agenda against us. Three clear goal making/braking decisions in 3 consecutive games and (surprise, surprise) all against Arsenal.

    Just because we’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get us………

  • andy1886

    This is why Mike Riley should be out on Tuesday mornings to face the media and answer questions about decisions that were controversial. For what it’s worth I was directly above the place where the above image was taken, so I had an almost identical view of the Boyd incident. It was a clear penalty and the only conclusion I could reach was that the ref didn’t see it but the linesman (or referee’s assistant) was incompetent. I’ve been a local referee and I can’t believe any official would instruct his colleague not to signal for that kind of offence, and if the lino was paying attention he couldn’t have missed it. Again the PGMOL people could do themselves a favour and suspend a member who failed to spot a basic incident like this one which would at least send out the right message.

  • jonfromwellington

    some will say that we could show old footage of Arsenal benefitting from dodgy decisions but I say – let’s see it then.

    What’s that?

    Nothing?

    What a surprise.

    Referees HATE Arsenal

  • Giddy

    Yes Referees hate Arsenal and Arsene but we can’t rely on referees to make the correct decisions all the time! We have made things hard for ourselves by assuming that Diaby can become our messiah as a defensive midfield player, by putting our faith that 2 CB can take us through a whole season or rather pretending that Monreal of all the defenders can be a centre back for Arsenal FC and are surely paying for it. No amount of window dressing can change the facts!

  • andy1886

    Jon, no point in raging about things that you cannot control, change the things that you can that’s all you can do. Of course there are decisions that we have had in our favour this season – one I recall being highlighted in a review on here was Wilshere’s handball against Citeh at home which should have been a pen. All football fans feel referees are against them, except possibly at ManU who really have had the most outrageous support over the Fergie years from officials.

  • Mike

    @ Giddy

    For future reference the definition of a “fact” is ‘something that is known or provded to be true.

    “The facts” (as you choose to call your opinion) are not and probably will not ever be revealed to mere mortals like us.

    What evidence (not opinion) do you have to suggest anybody thought Diaby would become the messiah? If somebody did think that, was it based on medical opinion that he would regain full fitness and professional assessment of his talent (as opposed to some bloke in a pub)?

    What evidence do you have that quality CB’s were either available or that AW purposely decided not to sign any? (Or perhaps you are now advocating that we should have signed Squillaci or Silvestre Mk 2).

    No amount of window dressing can disguise the fact that you have any opinion………..which is not quite the same as a fact!

  • insideright

    @Mike – actually it’s four games in a row – Hull, Burnley, Anderlecht and Swansea. Paranoid? Moi?

  • Mike

    @ insideright

    I stand corrected lol

  • @insideright – five games surely? Don’t forget the Chelsea game.

  • Jerry

    @Giddy,

    If you read the article Walter clearly shows that the linesman was inept (in the wrong position). The reasons are debatable but seeing that poor ref decision making against Arsenal has become a pattern and that is worrying.

    I agree that Arsenal can not rely on the refs to make the right decisions all the time (they are human), but I think most fans would be happy if we get half the important calls at least correct. One can argue that the reason Chelsea is so far ahead is due to the refs making the calls in their favor (both right and wrong).

    For instance, Cahill should have gotten a red against us, and I like our chances against Chelsea 11 vs 11 after that to atleast get a point if not win (that’s a +3 point swing for them right there).

    In regards to the defense, the whole offseason and the beginning of the season, everyone was screaming we need to reinforce our attack (which we did). Then it switched to our defense, but why? Monreal is our 4th CB, Chambers should have been there, but Debuchy is assaulted by Milner and the ref once again did not do his job. Refs have cost us a significant amount of points this season.

  • Jerry

    and yes I meant to put 11 vs 11 after Cahill getting sent off

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If it hasn’t been the injuries which occurred to our 5 big Gunners, our results would have been better than we’ve had so far. Imagine Arteta, Giroud, Ozil, Debuchy and Koscielny being side lined with injuries. With the last two causing a big hole in our defense line. A hole big enough to be exploited by Spurs, Hull, Anderlecht and Swansea of recent. The true of the matter is, the boss should not contemplate starting Monreal again as a CB not even against Man Utd after the international break. Monreal weakness at CB has been exposed by Batafimbi of Swansea. And Man U will try to exploit that Arsenal CBs fralities. All things being equal, our starting defence line for our home game with Man U should thus read: Bellerin…Chambers…Mertesacker…Gibbs. And instead of the usual one, let 2 out of these 3 defenders be on the bench that match day for adequate options for our defense line. The three are: Monreal, Ajayi and Hayden. Hopefully, Arteta will be back to his CDM position with Flamini assisting him as usual. We should have a great starting midfield that day with the likes of Wilshere and inform-Chamberlain available for selection. And I think the boss can decide to deviate from the usual. By starting Cambpell as one of his attacking fielders for that game. He has once scored against Man U and history may repeat itself. This Man U game is a must win game for us to help pull us out of the dungeon. How can the boss so soon trow in the towel without waiting to the end of the fight? How can the boss make that public pronouncement that Chelsea will win the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier League with 100 points. and not Arsenal will win it any more? Which team have ever won the Premier with 100 points? I know there is always the first time in live for something to happen. But even then, Arsenal still have 81 points to haul and they have already got 17 points in their hands. So why is the boss panicking? If there is still time, there is hope. Arsenal is my first born son who is sick at the moment. I shall never forsake him for another man’s son just because he is sick. I will take care of him, nurse him, feed him, bath him, dress him, meditate him, love him and encourage him to get well an be strong. I will also pray to my God for His divinely intervention to heal my son quickly. For it is written. There is hope for a tree that is gone dry. By the scent of water, it will bud, blossom and bring forth boughs for the Gooners to abode under her shade to escape the burning heat of the sun. Please Chief Tony, you may wish to send this article of mine to the boss to read it to know how bad I feel over his conceding the title to Chelsea with not even one third of race ran.

  • Steely O'Leary

    This wheel’s on fire
    Rolling down the road
    Best notify my next of kin
    This wheel shall explode.

    Untold Bob not to worry I go this one. Arsene is the wheel, the Arsenal is the road, and the whole shit house is going up in flames.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If it hasn’t been the injuries which occurred to our 5 big Gunners, our results would have been better than we’ve had so far. Imagine Arteta, Giroud, Ozil, Debuchy and Koscielny being side lined with injuries. With the last two causing a big hole in our defense line. A hole big enough to be exploited by Spurs, Hull, Anderlecht and Swansea of recent. The true of the matter is, the boss should not contemplate starting Monreal again as a CB not even against Man Utd after the international break. Monreal weakness at CB has been exposed by Batafimbi of Swansea. And Man U will try to exploit that Arsenal CBs fralities. All things being equal, our starting defence line for our home game with Man U should thus read: Bellerin…Chambers…Mertesacker…Gibbs. And instead of the usual one, let 2 out of these 3 defenders be on the bench that match day for adequate options for our defense line. The three are: Monreal, Ajayi and Hayden. Hopefully, Arteta will be back to his CDM position with Flamini assisting him as usual. We should have a great starting midfield that day with the likes of Wilshere and inform-Chamberlain available for selection. And I think the boss can decide to deviate from the usual. By starting Cambpell as one of his attacking fielders for that game. He has once scored against Man U and history may repeat itself. This Man U game is a must win game for us to help pull us out of the dungeon. How can the boss so soon trow in the towel without waiting to the end of the fight? How can the boss make that public pronouncement that Chelsea will win the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier League with 100 points. and not Arsenal will win it any more? Which team have ever won the Premier with 100 points? I know there is always the first time in live for something to happen. But even then, Arsenal still have 81 points to haul and they have already got 17 points in their hands. So why is the boss panicking? If there is still time, there is hope. Arsenal is my first born son who is sick at the moment. I shall never forsake him for another man’s son just because he is sick. I will take care of him, nurse him, feed him, bath him, dress him, give him medication him, love him and encourage him to get well and be strong. I will also pray to my God for His divinely intervention to heal my son quickly. For it is written. There is hope for a tree that is gone dry. By the scent of water, it will bud, blossom and bring forth boughs for the Gooners to abode under her shade to escape the burning heat of the sun. Please Chief Tony, you may wish to send this article of mine to the boss to read it to know how bad I feel over his conceding the title to Chelsea with not even one third of race ran.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If it hasn’t been the injuries which occurred to our 5 big Gunners, our results would have been better than we’ve had so far. Imagine Arteta, Giroud, Ozil, Debuchy and Koscielny being sidelined with injuries. With the last two causing a big hole in our defense line. A hole big enough to be exploited by Spurs, Hull, Anderlecht and Swansea of recent. The true of the matter is, the boss should not contemplate starting Monreal again as a CB not even against Man Utd after the international break. Monreal weakness at CB has been exposed by Batafimbi of Swansea. And Man U will try to exploit that Arsenal CBs fralities. All things being equal, our starting defence line for our home game with Man U should thus read: Bellerin…Chambers…Mertesacker…Gibbs. And instead of the usual one, let 2 out of these 3 defenders be on the bench that match day for adequate options for our defense line. The three are: Monreal, Ajayi and Hayden. Hopefully, Arteta will be back to his CDM position with Flamini assisting him as usual. We should have a great starting midfield that day with the likes of Wilshere and inform-Chamberlain available for selection. And I think the boss can decide to deviate from the usual. By starting Cambpell as one of his attacking midfielders for that game. He has once scored against Man U and history may repeat itself. This Man U game is a must win game for us to help pull us out of the dungeon. How can the boss so soon trow in the towel without waiting to the end of the fight? How can the boss make that public pronouncement that Chelsea will win the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier League with 100 points. and not Arsenal will win it any more? Which team have ever won the Premier with 100 points? I know there is always the first time in life for something to happen. But even then, Arsenal still have 81 points to haul and they have already got 17 points in their hands. So why is the boss panicking? If there is still time, there is hope. Arsenal is my first born son who is sick at the moment. I shall never forsake him for another man’s son just because he is sick. I will take care of him, nurse him, feed him, bath him, dress him, give him medication, love him and encourage him to get well and be strong. I will also pray to my God for His divine intervention to heal my son quickly. For it is written. There is hope for a tree that is gone dry. At the scent of water, it will bud, blossom and bring forth boughs for the Gooners to abode under her shade to escape the burning heat of the sun. Please Chief Tony, you may wish to send this article of mine to the boss to read it to know how bad I feel over his conceding the title to Chelsea with not even one third of race ran.

  • porter

    If you look at Anderlecht’s first goal , the offside one , and you look at the official behind the goal , you will see that even he looks at the linesman to check for an offside. He knew it was , so what are his instructions ?

  • andy1886

    Jerry, be honest, you are being selective with the Chelsea game. Yes Cahill should have gone but also Chambers could have easily had a second yellow, Kos by the letter of the law should have gone when conceding the pen, and Welbeck could have easily seen red for his late challenge too. For me the quality of the refs this season is the main issue, we’ve had a few bad call and have had a few in our favour, but in general the standard of refereeing has been pretty poor and needs to be addressed pronto.

  • apo Armani

    Then some complain of ‘the hand of God’ by a certain Argentine player who through a similar action got England eliminated from the World Cup some years ago!!

  • jayramfootball

    Hopefully you have not missed the complete assault on Cazorla by Ashley Williams. That was a tackle of the like Shawcross made on Ramsey when he shattered his leg and set his career back 3 years. The ONLY difference is that Cazorla’s leg was not broken. The ref saw it because he gave a yellow. That makes the decision even worse than not seeing it and giving nothing.

  • JohnShaft

    It’s a shame that most of the games I have watched this season have been decided by the officials who have the power to dictate the tempo, course and outcome of any game.

  • Mark

    The other day some one was commenting by asking the question of motive for bias and suggesting that if Untold could not produce a motive for bias they should not accuse the Refs of bias. I think the answer to this is in murder investigations. The facts are established first then the issue of motive is examined to try to find the one who committed the crime. So Untold has established a standard of facts. The bias is happening. When that is admitted then the question of why can start to be addressed.

    But it does not make sense to have to produce the reason for bias to confirm the facts.

  • Mark

    The PGMOL does not seem to send any signals that they really want to get decisions right. The FA seems to allow this to continue. I think they could learn from the NFL. The whole trust of the league with the officials is to try to get decisions correct. The video review is just one way they seek to assure the public and the teams that they are working toward correct decisions as a goal. I think the number of officials also helps them to manage the game. It would be very hard for one official to deliberately turn a game by bias in an NFL game.

    But with soccer there are so few officials that it is easier for one persons bias or mistakes to turn a game. I think two field refs and two linesmen would help or have one field ref but four linesmen working together. Just having more refs working together would improve the decision making and make it harder for gross mistakes to take place.

    Even time management could be taken off the field as in basketball and other sports. Have an official that manages the clock and has to work with the other officials in this management. This would help.

    But alas – football does not seem to be a sport where getting the decisions correct is the ultimate goal.

  • Jerry

    @Andy, by the letter of the law kos got the correct yellow since I believe it was Gibbs behind for cover. A red for Welbeck in the 90th min (which he should have had) is not as game changing as losing Cahill from around I believe the 20 min, you mention Chambers, but forget to mention Oscar was lucky that he was able to receive 4 warnings before getting a yellow. Unlike chambers or any of our players. Not being selective, just having my eyes open when I watch the game.

  • Jerry

    And I even forgot to mention the handball by Fabregas in that game. You mention Arsenal have had some calls go our way which I agree, but if it was due to honest ref errors, the mistakes for and against arsenal should be 50-50, Not 80% against

  • andy1886

    Jerry, thanks for a fair and sensible reply. You are correct, and I agree that on the whole the decisions did go in Chelsea’s favour that day. I’d have to watch the Kos pen incident again, but I do recall the commentators expecting a red card at the time. The reason for my initial response was that if you only highlight the errors on one side then it weakens your argument, as you have demonstrated you can also highlight all the relevant decisions and still conclude fairly that we were hard done by in that particular match. Again, the refs have been very poor all round this season IMO, let’s hope they get their act together quickly.

  • Menace

    @Jayram there were two tackles by Williams on Cazorla. The first was given as a foul but no card. It was studs to the shin (similar to Shawcross). The second drew the card but both were red card offences.

  • Steve0

    It might just be the angle on that vine, but it took me a few watchings in super slow motion to be 100% sure that Boyd touched the ball at all. The spin of the ball changes a bit, the trajectory really doesn’t. This is actually a much more excusable mistake as far as I’m concerned, because at that distance in real time, I could see not being certain if the ball was touched or not.

    That angle was more or less the same one the lineman had, and wouldn’t have changed much in the correct spot. This is one of those instances where video replay would really help.

  • Andy Mack

    @andy1886,do you really think the same events would have happened if Cahill had been sent off? In the few MaureenO games I’ve seen where they have a player red carded, he usually taks off the ‘quietist’ attacker up to that point (usually Oscar or Hazard). Hazard hadn’t made any waves up to that point and I think he’d have been the one making way for a defender.
    Obviously this is a guess, the same as anyone thinking welbeck or chamber would have made (or not made) the same tackles.