This is what I've always been told to do for years. Remember which way the
ball is most likely going. It's most likely, never 100%, going towards the
defending goal line. The defenders and attackers will be moving that
direction very quickly and you will be in the best position to view play as
anticipated. If the ball is going the other way you are still close enough
to make the adjustment quickly to be even with the 2nd to last defender.
Standing behind you actually may be more in the way when needing to make the
adjustment and you also may be screened.
> The attacking team has a throw-in on the AR's touchline at the opponent's
> six, but the defenders are gathered at the 18.
> Where should the AR be?
> Before today, I would have thought the answer was "a yard behind" the
> thrower. From there, the AR can observe the throw, and can adjust her
> position based on where the throw goes without colliding with the thrower:
> following the ball if it is thrown toward a teammate running towards goal, or
> racing back to the second to the last defender if it is thrown downfield. My
> experience has been that if you are on the touch line near to, but closer to
> the goal line than the thrower, the risk of a collision with the thrower
> (thrower into you or you into thrower) as you cross is high. Moreover, the
> glance to make sure that you know where the thrower is heading takes away
> from the AR's primary focus on the field.
> The USSF answer to a question today (alternatively asking if the referee
> should take responsibility for offside in this instance) is different:
> "USSF answer (March 11, 2009):
> You seem to have set up a false dichotomy. The assistant referee's position
> on a throw-in is always "even with the second-to-last defender or the ball,
> whichever is closer to the goal line." In cases where the second-last
> defender is farther downfield (i .e., farther away from the goal line than
> the ball), then the rule still applies, but with the proviso that the AR
> cannot be where the ball is since that is also where the thrower is.
> Accordingly, the general rule is modified slightly as "even with the second
> to last defender or the ball, whichever is closer to the goal line, and also
> between the thrower and the AR's goal line."
> What this means in practice is that, if the second-last defender is closer,
> then the AR is even with that defender which, by necessity, places him
> between the thrower and the goal line. If the second-last defender is
> upfield, the AR is simply between the thrower and the goal line. In either
> case, the AR must be prepared to adjust based on movement of the ball and the
> second-to-last defender as a result of the throw-in. What the AR must not do
> in an attempt to be even with the ball is to stand next to the thrower or
> even with the thrower but way off the touchline - the AR must still be on the
> For examples, see the diagrams in the USSF publication "Guide to Procedures
> for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials" 2008-2009 edition, pp.
> 17, 18, 31-34.
> The referee should be in a place where he/she can see where play is and where
> it is going, can see the AR, and is not in space the players need to use."
> I'm not sure why being on the touchline (the best place to observe ball in or
> out of play) takes a priority over stepping back (the better place to move to
> the offside line with the least disruption in focus and without the AR using
> space a player needs to use), but the USSF recommendation for positioning is
> now clear.
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