The Question from... Doug Smith ~ In combing through the
2014-2015 edition of the LOTG @...
I found the following quite interesting:
Under the heading "THE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANT REFEREE" (and I have to wonder why
that is not plural),
"Additional assistant referees may be appointed under the competition rules.
They must be active referees of the highest category available. The competition
rules must state the procedure to be followed when a referee is unable to
continue, and whether...
1. The 4th official takes over as referee, or
2. The senior additional assistant referee takes over as referee, with the
4th official becoming an additional assistant referee."
That is, the only two allowed scenarios (to replace an incapacitated referee) is
1) #4 to become the referee, or
2) #6 to become the referee and #4 to become
the #6. In either case, the match now proceeds without a #4.
I am wondering what the circumstances would have to be for the organization to decide
that the #6, instead of the 4th, would be a better choice to go into the middle.
As I read this, this decision must be made ahead of time, and uniformly for the
entire competition, rather than based on the assigned personnel for a given
I also get the impression that there are two "chains of succession" in a 7-man
team, one for the referee(s) and the other for assistant referees: #1, #4, #6,
and #7 are eligible to bear a whistle, and #2, #3, & #5 are eligible to carry
flags - and there is no crossover between the two groups. Which leaves me
wondering: if 2 out of the first group of 4 can't continue, would they consider
moving the #5 into the #7 role? Or would they rather go without one AAR, even
though there are still 5 certified referees still on-site to fill those 5 slots?
Or, if two of the second group have to end early, would the 4th not be prevailed
upon to stoop to holding a flag?
But maybe I should not be considering hypothetical's that involve so many
referees dropping like flies.
Beware what you wish for...
~ Doug Smith ~
So what? If you have a UEFA game with all those zillions of refs, they would
know their order of promotion.
Why is that an issue to anybody else?
Doug..., Once one gets to the FIFA ranks, they have a designation as
either R or AR and they don't tend to stray from that nowadays (perhaps Ferenc
can shed some light on when it may have been that way). Maybe FIFA thinks that
the referees should be in optimum shape such that two shouldn't be dropping
during the course of one match.
I suppose that under dire circumstances, one of the Rs would have to grab a flag
and be an AR; I certainly hope one hasn't gotten to that level without ever
having picked one up. I'm fairly certain they could make it work.
Sent from my iPhone
What is the historical frequency that CR's, AR's, 4th's, AAR's, or the substitutes
for any of those, need to be replaced?
Do we know what we're talking about? I suspect the frequency of replacement is
near zero percent.
Referees dropping like flies, or angels dancing on the head of a pin?
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?
"Not willing to involve NotArlo in this one - he is already confused
Would he, Guthrie?
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
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
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
no higher than 6th - which is another discussion point unaddressed by the
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
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
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.
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
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.)
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.
"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  six available: R, AR, AR, 4th, AAR, AAR
If  five: R, AR, AR, AAR, AAR
If  four: R, AR, AR, 4th
If  three: R, AR, AR
If  two: R, AR, CL (club linesman)
If  one: R, CL, CL
Shift things around so that the positions are always covered by the highest
available skilled person.
Level of diplomacy, which can be important for the 4th, is another
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.
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).
A final, simple, thought
... See you on