By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer
In Play of the Week 20 we are looking at co-operation between referee and AR, when the play is closer to the AR but the referee has a better viewing angle.
In the game between Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps, the ball is last played by Whitecaps’ Christian Bolanos. It bounces over Dynamo defender Abdoulie Mansally who allows the ball to go out of play.
From AR Jonathan Johnson’s angle it looks as though the ball took a final touch off Mansally and he signals for a corner kick. Referee Jaime Herrera, despite having a better viewing angle, accepts the call from his colleague.
This is a situation where the referee should be making the call. His positioning is fluid and flexible, but that of an AR is prescriptive and they cannot create a better angle for themselves.
Therefore, in this example, the referee should firstly concentrate on all phases of play and not switch off and allow the AR to make the call just because it is closer to him.
He should then quickly make the call and inform the AR over the communication kit to prevent the assistant from making an incorrect signal. If the AR is in any doubt whatsoever he should engage in eye contact with the referee before committing himself to a signal.
Also the reaction of the players can often tell you what has happened. As you can see by the body language of the players, they all expect a goal kick and are surprised with the awarding of a corner kick.
If the AR is too quick with the flag then the referee should simply over-rule him to ensure the correct decision is made. Referees are often reluctant to do this as it appears to be a breakdown in teamwork and could potentially upset the AR as he is positive he has made the correct call.
I am sure though, most ARs are not insulted as they know that the referee has the best intentions. After all, if a goal is scored from the resulting corner kick then they will be blamed.