Assistant referee

Sport: Soccer

Formerly known as a linesman, there is an assistant referee on each touch-line who is expected to keep level with play in order to advise the referee on throw-ins, fouls, and offsides. 

As part of the refereeing team, there is also a fourth member often referred to as the ‘fourth official’ that helps with general game management from the touch-line. Often managing substitutions, communicating with the referee, and controlling problems between substitute benches.

How does the Assistant referee help the Referee?

The assistant referee has many roles in a match that they must focus on to help the referee in the best way possible. A signal by raising their flag is the most common and effective way of doing this.

  • Out of play – An assistant referee must signal when the entire ball has crossed over either the touchline or byline and has gone out of play. They then must signal which team is awarded a corner, goal kick, or throw-in.
  • Offside – An assistant referee is also required to signal when an attacking player has entered into an offside position, keeping up with the defensive line throughout the match.
  • Substitutions – An assistant referee signals to the referee when a substitute is ready to be made.
  • Penalty kicks – An assistant referee will stand on the byline when a penalty kick is being taken to confirm the ball has crossed the line and the goalkeeper has stayed on their goalline.


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