The Memories & Spirit of the Game, as only Ken Aston could teach it...
Enjoy, your journey here on...
-= Who Moves Up? =-
Who Moves Up?
"...for the GOOD of the Game"
Comments by... Jim Geissman / Vince DeFranco / Peter Guthrie / Jim Duncan / Scott Riegelhaupt-Herzig
Patrick Duffy / Kevin Shalla / Dennis Wickham

"From a Question from... Doug Smith"
VIA... SOCREF-L ListServe Archives ~ July 2014

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Peter Guthrie...

Referees dropping like flies, or angels dancing on the head of a pin?

I'm afraid I don't know if I'm going into malapropism or delusion - or is there really a boundary between the two - stay tuned, we will answer this question when we decide how many flies can dance on the head of a pin?

Peter Guthrie
"Not willing to involve NotArlo in this one - he is already confused enough..." :-)

Jim Duncan...

Would he, Guthrie?


Jim Duncan

Doug Smith...Replies

How many of us have EVER worked as 4th officials?

What is the second-listed duty of the 4th official? How many of us have ever had to actually put down the clipboard and take up the flag/whistle? Yet, we still discuss it.

Every time I have been a 4th, the implicit expectation was that, if the referee can't continue, AR1 will move into the middle, and the 4th (me) will get to hold a flag. (Whether AR2 moves across the field to become AR1 or not has never been discussed, mainly because we have never gotten there.) This is emphatically not the expectation at the WC. The 4th will replace the referee if needed, and the reserve AR will replace an incapacitated AR. I have vague recollection of a referee being replaced in a Women's WC match (as I recall, disabling leg cramps just after full time, so the 4th refereed the extra time). And that is the only time, in my memory, that a 4th had to step into a mobile role (not meant to be pejorative - but the most striking characteristic of being a 4th is the comparative immobility of the job; part of my guidance to first-time 4th, if the weather is not toasty, now includes "make sure to dress warmly, or you might just freeze solid"). But we still discuss it.

We now have guidance about using AAR's. They are authorized for ALL levels of play; the leagues that experimented with them are, admittedly, the only ones currently employing them, and I have every confidence that monetary considerations will remain the biggest barrier to their use; I do not expect that my local leagues will start using 7-referee crews any time soon. But I still believe they are fair game for discussion.

I ask the question again: under what circumstances would an org decide that the senior AAR would be a better replacement for the referee than the 4th? It makes no sense to me - but again, my experience does not include matches in which the 4th would replace the referee, instead of AR1 replacing the referee and the 4th becoming an AR.

The reason I ask is that there is an implied hierarchy, perhaps better described as proficiency, in that you would want, I suggest, your most-qualified replacement to step into the most demanding slot. Is the 6th considered to have her "head more into" the match, to be more attuned to the temperature of the match, because of being more involved with the on-field (rather than off-field, where the 4th is more often required to focus) duties? Would/should assignors assign 4th's, 6th's, & 7th's in a different order of preference, based on the promotion order of replacements?

Again, in my experience, the 4th is usually (or, it might be better stated, the crew can afford for her to be) the LEAST-proficient member of the 4-referee crew. As an assignor, I would assign quite differently if the 4th was designated to replace the referee. Adding AAR's, and having to decide whether #4 or #6 is first choice for replacing the referee, multiplies the complexity of those decisions by a factor of at least 3 (the 7th knows/expects to remain as 7th, or no higher than 6th - which is another discussion point unaddressed by the guidance).

I expect that the answer(s) may break down as follows: for a 4-referee crew, AR1 is first choice to replace the referee, and the 4th will become an AR; for a 5-referee crew, the 4th is the only choice to replace the referee, and the 5th is the only choice to replace an AR (I also might expect that, if the 4th moved up, the 5th would be called out of the locker room to fill the role of the 4th - but would never be expected to take up the whistle - but again, this 4th is a Grade 1, and this 5th is a Grade 2); for a 7-referee crew, ... this is where I need help understanding things.

Even though these events will likely never happen, how should we plan to deal with them?

Doug Smith

Scott Riegelhaupt-Herzig...

When serving as a 4th Official, I've never had to step up to replace a referee. In 13 years of officiating, though, I've had to step from AR1 to referee on 3 or 4 occasions. It's a rare event but it does happen.

Scott Riegelhaupt-Herzig

Patrick Duffy...

I've never had to step up during a game, although I've had a number of times when the referee didn't show up for one reason or another. That's how I got my first U-17 center, because the other AR had the center for the next game and didn't want to do two in a row.

As an assessor, I had it happen at youth regional's. U-16 boys and AR1 was doing a very poor job. At halftime, however, the referee's knee looked like he had a baseball under his skin, so he became the 4th, the 4th became AR1 and AR1 went in the center. She did a very good job with the whistle. The other interesting thing I remember from that game was that AR2 had the referee give two red cards, one in each half, so one from each referee! (And they were both appropriate decisions.)

Patrick Duffy

Vince DeFranco...Replies


I get the feeling that on a game at any level that is assigning more than 4 referees to a match that the assignor(s) (I use plural form here because that is typically going to be the case at this level) are either a) typically going to have the order of succession should someone be unable to continue clearly spelled out in the assignment documentation before the game and/or b) is typically going to make himself/herself available to the crew during the complete duration of the game, should any question of succession arise in the event of one of the crew members being unable to continue.

My suggestion to all involved in any four referee crew is, if you have any questions about succession should they not be spelled out in any pre-match documentation, that you ask the assignor before going out to the field, "Who does what in the event either a) the referee is unable to continue or
b) one of the ARs is unable to continue?"

In the event the referee is unable to continue, it's typically going to be either AR1 or the 4th who replaces the referee, then the question also needs to be asked if AR1 is taking over, whether or not AR2 assumes the role of AR1 (I would recommend against doing that so that AR2 can keep the same position WRT deciding offside, so that both teams can be under his offside decisions equally for 45 minutes each) or whether the fourth simply takes over the duties of AR1 (more prudent if you ask me, especially considering if it is a limited substitution match, the fourth has already been keeping track of the substitutions up until this point).

In the event an AR is unable to continue, the fourth typically will just fill in that slot, but there are times, I suppose, where an assignor would like, if AR1 is the one being replaced, that AR2 move over to AR1 position while the fourth assumes AR2; this may be the case in the situation where the fourth is a younger and/or inexperienced referee, and the assignor doesn't want him/her to be directly involved in subs in a limited substitution game. (I really can't understand for the life of me though why an assignor would place a young/inexperienced referee as a fourth official on any game like this where the emotions are typically going to be high and bench management will be key in keeping the game under control, which would seem to me to require that someone older/more experienced be assigned to that role. Also, one of the key responsibilities of a 4th in a limited substitution game is keeping track of substitutions; if he/she can't handle it, they shouldn't be in that role.)

Vince DeFranco

Jim Geissman...Replies

Yeah, there is an implied order of precedence, and I imagine the officials are assigned accordingly. One of the positions is designated as the replacement for the CR if disabled, and the best official to be CR after the three on the field is assigned to that slot, whether it be 4th or AAR1 or whatever, according to the local protocol.

Jim Geissman

Kevin Shalla

"I wonder if there would be two rankings, one of assignment based upon skill level required, with another of priority order of filling empty spots."

Assignment by skill level:

R, AAR, AAR, 4th, AR, AR, RAR

Positions to fill:

If [6] six available: R, AR, AR, 4th, AAR, AAR

If [5] five: R, AR, AR, AAR, AAR

If [4] four: R, AR, AR, 4th

If [3] three: R, AR, AR

If [2] two: R, AR, CL (club linesman)

If [1] one: R, CL, CL

Shift things around so that the positions are always covered by the highest available skilled person.

Kevin Shalla

Jim Geissman...Replies

Level of diplomacy, which can be important for the 4th, is another consideration.

Jim Geissman

Doug Smith...Replies

Vince's analysis seems to ignore one important consideration. Bullet item #2 of the guidance for the 4th official, and the opening paragraph of the guidance for use of AAR's, mandate that the competition authority must decide the "promotion order" before the start of the competition (and apply it uniformly). So, the assignors don't have the luxury of making those decisions in the moment, for any given match or crew. The decision must already be in place.

So, I don't see it as a question of uncertainty among the crew and/or assignor(s)/assessor(s)/inspector(s) as to what to do, during the match, when the referee comes up lame. My uncertainty relates to what criteria the assignor(s) should be using to make the assignments for 4th, 6th, & 7th. I would expect the "more capable" referee to be assigned to the higher promotion slot, either 4th or 6th, as the rules of competition specify - but I am not sure how that mixes with the much-more-likely scenario of "no promotions". Do I need my stronger referee as 4th, or as 6th?

If these are all Grade 1's, the differences might not matter (though, if that were 100% true, why does FIFA put so much effort into evaluation of WC referees for retention into the knockout rounds?). In the world I live and ref in, there is quite a bit of variation in the capabilities of a randomly-selected crew of 4 or 7 - and I would expect that the assignor(s) would want quite a bit to say about the promotion order. Maybe the question(s) never will arise in my world: the likelihood of being on an over-sized crew, on the rare match that experiences someone unable to continue, is literally one in a million.

But Vince does mention a very valid point, which applies to both the AR's and the AAR's: whatever slot must be replaced, AR's should not swap sides, nor should AAR's swap ends. To do so would ruin the symmetry of each team getting the benefit/suffering the liability of the strengths/weaknesses of each AR/AAR for each half, as equally as we can maintain.

Doug Smith

Dennis Wickham

One of the memorable replacements occurred in the 2004 Olympics Women's final.

Jenny Palmquist (Sweden) was replaced after the conclusion of regulation time by her 4th official, Dianne Ferreira-James (Guyana).

Ms.James refereed the first overtime period (golden goal decided champion).

Dennis Wickham

A final, simple, thought ... See you on 'The PITCH'!!!

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