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Assistant Referees Flag Technique Simple Training Program

(By Julian Carosi - updated on 1 Jan 2004 - www.corshamref.net)


The aim of this page is to provide a simple flexible way to practically train Assistant Referees in the art of
carrying and using the flag whilst running along the touchline. The training does not have to be done on a
field of play touchline, it can be done anywhere, where there is a maximum 60 metre long area. This
program is primarily for an Instructor's use whilst training Referees, but it can also be used by an individual.
This programme contains three sections.
The Flag Signals.
Setting up the Training.
Flag Tips.

The Flag Signals


The image above shows the various flag and lining positions that an Assistant Referee will need to use.
1. Corner Kick Flag Signal: The Assistant Referee should run to the corner flag, then turn to face towards
the centre Referee, whilst pointing the Flag downwards towards the base of the corner flag post, using the
hand that is nearest to the goal line.
During training the instructor should shout "CORNER" to get the Assistant Referees to sprint to the corner
flag and make the signal.
2. Goal Kick flag signal: Face towards the halfway line at right angles to the field of play whilst pointing the
flag into the field of play at 90 degrees away from the body. Stand (or move) adjacent to the goal area line
(approx 5.5m (6 yds) up the touch line, away from the corner flag.
During training the instructor should shout "GOAL KICK" to get the Assistant Referees to sprint to the
correct position and make the signal.
3. Attention Referee!: Wave the flag 'to and fro' above you. Use this signal to gain the attention of the
centre Referee. (For example - when violent conduct has been seen.) Wave the flag vigorously backwards
and forwards until the centre Referee sees it.
During training the instructor should shout "ATTENTION REFEREE" to get the Assistant Referees to stop
immediately and make the signal by waving their flag 'to and fro' in the air.
4. Throw-in to the right: Facing the field of play - put the flag out at a 45 degree angle from the body
indicating the direction of the throw-in. Use the right arm to indicate right.
During training the instructor should shout "THROW-IN RIGHT" to get the Assistant Referees to stop
immediately and make the correct signal.
5. Throw-in to the left: Facing the field of play - put the flag out at a 45 degree angle from the body
indicating the direction of the throw-in. Use the left arm to indicate left.
During training the instructor should shout "THROW-IN LEFT" to get the Assistant Referees to stop
immediately and make the correct signal.
Note: Assistant Referees should move the flag from hand to hand when their arms were down, and not when
the flag is above their head. Another method during the throw-in flag signal, is to 'snap' the flag in the correct
hand straight up vertically at first, thus indicating to the centre Referee that the ball has gone out of play (this
also gives the Assistant Referee time to make eye contact with the centre Referee. And then bring it down
on the correct side to a 45 degree angle, pointing towards the direction of play for the team which has the
right to throw the ball in.

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6. Crabbing: This is a method whereby the Assistant Referee faces the field of play and moves his body to
the left or to the right by using crab-like leg movements to shift sideways, for the purpose of keeping in line
with the second last slow moving defender. The flag must remain unfurled and visible to the centre Referee
at all times.
During training the instructor should shout "CRAB LEFT " and "CRAB RIGHT " to train the Assistant
Referees to acclimatise to a constantly changing direction up and down the touchline.

7 & 8. Running and sprinting and jogging: The Assistant Referee will need to train by running at different
speeds interspersed with pauses. Apart from the physical training itself, the most important aspect of these
manoeuvres, is to get the Assistant Referees to change the flag from hand to hand to ensure that the flag is
always facing INWARDS to the field of play. This will give the centre Referee maximum visibility of the flag at
all times.
During training the instructor should shout out a variable combination of "RUN LEFT" : RUN RIGHT" : JOG
LEFT" : JOG RIGHT" : SPRINT LEFT" : SPRINT RIGHT" : PAUSE" :
9. Offside Signal: Put the flag straight up (no waving) to indicate to the centre Referee, that an offside
offence has occurred - then as soon as the centre Referee has seen the flag signal, put the flag down to one
of the following varied 3 positions (far, centre or near.).
During training the instructor should shout out "OFFSIDE" followed by one of the following 3 positions.
It can sometimes happen, that the centre Referee will want to keep play going when an offside has been
flagged. He will acknowledge his Assistant Referee with an upraised arm. The Assistant Referee should then
immediately drop the flag and continue with his duties. The instructor should demonstrate this manoeuvre by
firstly explaining the centre Referee's arm signal, and then using the signal during training to test the
Assistant Referees.
10: Offside Far: Face the field of play and raise the flag at a 45 degree angle upwards into the sky, pointing
into the field of play. This indicates to the centre Referee that an offside offence has occurred on the far side
of the field of play.
During training the instructor should shout out "OFFSIDE" followed by "OFFSIDE FAR"
11. Offside Centre (or Middle): Face the field of play and raise the flag at a 90 degree angle outwards from
the body, pointing into the field of play. This indicates to the centre Referee that an offside offence has
occurred in the centre (or middle) of the field of play.
During training the instructor should shout out "OFFSIDE" followed by "OFFSIDE CENTRE"
12: Offside near: Face the field of play and raise the flag at a 45 degree angle upwards from the ground,
pointing downwards into the field of play. This indicates to the centre Referee that an offside offence has
occurred on the near side of the field of play.
During training the instructor should shout out "OFFSIDE" followed by "OFFSIDE NEAR"
13: Substitution Required: To inform the centre Referee that a substitution is requested, raise the flag and
hold it horizontal above the face. Do not place the flag in front of the face. It should be held slightly to one
side to allow for unimpaired vision.
During training the instructor should shout out "SUBSTITUTE". On hearing this, the Assistant Referee
should make the signal, gain the attention of the centre Referee (the instructor) and then sprint to the
halfway line.

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Setting up the training: (is easy!)


To set up this training, the instructor (or an individual if no instructor is available) will need to find a maximum
60 metre long area. If a field of play touchline is not available put a marker (a coat or a cone etc.) at each
end of a 60-metre line. (You do not necessarily need a line.) Decide which end is the halfway line, and which
is the corner flag end of the field of play. (The distance between the markers can be adjusted downwards,
but should not be any longer than 60 metres.)
The time that the training takes is entirely up to you. You can make it as long or as short or as complex as
you like.
The aim is to firstly ensure that the Assistant Referees know the proper flag signals, and then get them to
demonstrate their knowledge by running 'up and down' to your instructions. Two important things to
remember: Firstly, the flag must always be in the hand that is nearest to the touchline. This way, the centre
Referee always has clear view (line of sight) of the unfurled flag. Secondly, when running, the flag should be
kept pointing downwards, and not pumped up and down like a steam train as you run along.
The instructor should stand inside the field of play (if this is available) facing the Assistant Referees, and will
assume the role of the centre Referee. To begin the training, a gentle warm-up period of jogging and
sprinting and pausing is recommended: For example, to begin the training, the instructor shouts
combinations of "RUN LEFT" : RUN RIGHT" : JOG LEFT" : JOG RIGHT" : SPRINT LEFT" : SPRINT
RIGHT" : PAUSE" : etc.
Once the warm-up period has been completed, the instructor can use a varied combination of all the 'shouts'
below:
"CORNER": "GOAL KICK": "ATTENTION REFEREE": "THROW-IN RIGHT": "THROW-IN LEFT":
"CRAB LEFT ": "CRAB RIGHT ":
"RUN LEFT" : "RUN RIGHT" : "JOG LEFT" : "JOG RIGHT" : "SPRINT LEFT" : "SPRINT RIGHT" :
PAUSE"
"OFFSIDE": "OFFSIDE FAR": "OFFSIDE CENTRE": "OFFSIDE NEAR": "SUBSTITUTE"

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Flag Tips:
1. When standing at the halfway line, and when play is in the other half of the field of play, Assistant
Referees should always hold their flag in the hand that is nearest to the halfway line. This ensures that when
play breaks back into their half, the Assistant Referee (when he turns to run down towards the corner flag)
will already have the flag in the correct hand facing inwards towards the centre Referee.
2. Never roll the flag up. Always have it unfurled, with as much of the flag's surface area visible to the centre
Referee. Keep the flag as motionless as possible whilst running.
3. When making the 'substitution' flag signal, do not hold it in front of your face. If you do, you may miss an
incident. Hold is slightly to one side of the face to allow you visibility.
4. When signalling for a goal kick (or a corner kick), hold the flag in the hand that is nearest to the goal line.
This will prevent you obscuring the centre Referee from your vision and will open up your body position so
that you are correctly facing towards the field of play. This will also give a greater eye contact line with the
centre Referee.
5. When signalling for a throw-in, use the correct hand. If the throw-in is to the right, use the right hand. If the
throw-in is to the left, use the left hand. DO NOT use the right hand to indicate a throw-into the left, and do
not use the left hand to indicate a throw-in to the right. In other words, do not cross your flag arm across your
chest, or turn your body unnecessarily when making signals.
6. Always hold the flag in the hand that is nearest to the field of play. This will enable the centre Referee to
view it easier. Whilst switching hands, keep your hands low.
7. When signalling, stop, face the field of play, stand erect and try to locate and make eye contact with the
centre Referee.
8. If the centre Referee acknowledges the flag, drop it immediately and continue to move with the ensuing
game.
9. Be sharp with the flag when you are raising it. When you bring it down, do it gracefully!
10. Assistant Referees must learn the correct flag signals, and use them properly.
11. Whenever the ball leaves the field of play, the flag signal of the Assistant Referee should show clearly
the correct restart and direction. In clear throw-in situations, the Assistant Referee can directly show the
direction (along the whole touch line). But if he has any doubt about the direction, the Assistant Referee
should simply raise his flag, make eye contact with the referee and follow the referees signal. On very tight
decisions, when the ball stays in play, a discreet hand signal could give valuable support to the Referee.12.
Whenever an Assistant Referee signals the ball out of the field of play (even if players continue to play the
ball) he must retain the signal until acknowledged by the Referee taking action.
13. When the ball enters a goal: To confirm a valid goal has been scored, an Assistant Referee should
display clear movement down the touchline towards the centre line. In borderline cases, this movement
should be clear (sprint) to be recognised by the Referee. To confirm a goal, the Assistant Referee should not
raise his flag. If in his opinion a goal has not been scored correctly, the Assistant Referee should stand still,
retaining any signal already given. The Referee may then choose to consult further if he needs additional
guidance.
14. An Assistant Referee must use a raised flag signal to advise the Referee that he has seen a foul
committed (or unsporting behaviour or violent conduct) when he is better positioned than the Referee and
the Referee has not clearly acted on the offence. If the Assistant Referee has additional information,
concerning the offence, he wishes to give to the Referee or if the Referee has not seen his flag signal the
electronic beep signal should be used if available, but only to supplement the flag signal already given. It
was emphasised that such action by an Assistant Referee must be taken for all appropriate offences
including those committed inside the penalty area. There is benefit in the Assistant Referee being seen
to be aware and signalling for any offence in his immediate vicinity and this practice is recommended. When
a flag is raised for Law 12 offences, it should be unfurled and waved to distinguish from the signal for offside.

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15. If a flag signal for any offence is not seen immediately by the Referee, the Assistant Referee must keep
signalling until he is acknowledged by the Referee or he recognises a clear advantage to the team against
which the offence has been committed.
16. Eye-contact and discreet hand signals from an Assistant Referee may be helpful in passing information
to a Referee e.g. type of offence, next action etc. This would reduce the need for the Referee to come across
to the Assistant Referee for consultation. Where direct consultation is necessary between the Referee and
Assistant Referee, the information should include, as concisely as possible, what happened, which players
were involved, the precise location, recommended action and the re-start of play. It is recommended that in
such cases the assistant referee advances towards the referee by 4 to 5 metres. During consultation, the
Assistant Referee and Referee should both face the field of play. It is usually appropriate to avoid the
consultation being heard or understood by others.
17. Offences of violent conduct seen and signalled by an Assistant Referee must be acted upon in
accordance with the Laws of the Game by the Referee. If play has been stopped for the disciplinary action
(even if the signal has not been seen immediately and play has continued), the restart must also be in
accordance with the Laws (free kick / penalty kick). However, if the Assistant Referees signal is not seen
immediately and play has been restarted for a subsequent situation, only the appropriate disciplinary
action can be taken against the offending player.
18. Where a Referee seeks guidance from an Assistant Referee concerning the exact location of an offence
near the boundary of the penalty area the action of the assistant referee should be as follows:
(a) If the offence is inside the penalty area the Assistant Referee moves visibly down the touchline
towards the corner flag.
(b) If the offence is outside the penalty area the Assistant Referee stands still having moved to be in line
with the edge of the penalty area.
19. If an Assistant Referee knows that a Referee has made an obvious disciplinary error (e.g. two yellow
cards to the same player without sending him off, red or yellow card to the wrong player, player kicked the
ball twice at free kick, etc.) he must intervene immediately (flag and beep or even enter the field of play). The
other Assistant Referee (or 4th official) should if necessary, also assist in such case.
20. Control of the 9.15m distance: When a Referee chooses to use the help of an Assistant Referee on the
field of play to control the 9.15m distance from the ball at free-kick, it is recommended that the Assistant
Referee does not physically measure the 9.15m but rather asserts his control from the position of the ball.
This exceptional on field involvement of the assistant referee is recommended only for free kicks very near
the touchline.

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21.Positioning:
Free kick close to the penalty area:
At free kicks close to the penalty area, the Assistant Referee should position himself in line with the second
last defender (controlling the offside), but also with awareness of the goal line. The Referee should control
the ball and the wall.
After an offside:
When possible, an Assistant Referee, after a free kick for offside has been given, should position himself in
line with the spot where the ball should be positioned to restart the game. He should then immediately take
up a position to control the offside line (level with the second-last defender), which is his priority.
Goal kick and goal clearance:
For goal kicks and when the goalkeeper is in possession of the ball inside his own penalty area, it is advised
that the Assistant Referee occasionally checks that the ball is correctly positioned or that the goalkeeper
does not cross the 16 metre line before releasing the ball from his hands. This should be done in convenient
situations (e.g. second last defender near the penalty area). Control of offside from subsequent play is the
priority concern.
Corner kick:
For corner kicks, it is recommended that the Assistant Referee involved takes a position behind the flag in
line with the goal line.
Penalty kick:
When a penalty kick is awarded during the normal course of play, the assistant should be on the goal line
where it meets the penalty area boundary line.
Kicks from the penalty mark to determine the winner of a match:
One assistant should be positioned on the goal line where it meets the goal area boundary line, with the
other Assistant Referee controlling the players within the centre circle. The Referee must determine and
agree the role of the Assistant Referee on the goal line, and his own role in detecting any forward movement
from the goal line of the goalkeeper. Referees and Assistant Referees are also reminded that the "inactive"
goalkeeper should remain positioned on the goal line where it meets the penalty area boundary line.
Substitution:
When substitutions take place, they shall be supervised by the 4th official (if available) in co-operation with
the Referee. Therefore, the Assistant Referee does not need to move to the halfway line if a 4th Official is
available.

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