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Assistant referee in football when indicating an offside position

In some ball sports , the referee is supported by one or more linesmen (LR) or assistant referees (SRA) and sometimes also by gate judges .


When football the linesman as "assistant referee" is referred to since the 1996/97 season, in order to meet the increased responsibility in the assistance of the referee for the entire game. The assistant referees support the referee with their own range of tasks (e.g. offside decisions, the ball out of play or behind the goal line), but also where the referee was unable to perceive offenses by players.

The assistant referees are trained football referees . There are two assistant referees per game, each of whom is responsible for one of the two touchlines. The assistant referee is only located on the sideline of one half of the pitch, always on the left side of defense or the right side of attack. They are each equipped with a flag with which they signal the referee if there is a criminal offside position, a ball out or a foul play that the referee could not recognize (see also related technical aids ). During the game, the assistant referee typically tries to stay at the height of the penultimate player (including the goalkeeper) of the defending team in order to be able to identify offside situations particularly well . In the Bundesliga and in addition since 2017 Video Wizard used. These intervene in the event of clear wrong decisions by the referees (e.g. goal offside). During the game, the responsible video assistant is in a “Controlling Center” in Cologne, where he analyzes controversial game scenes using slow motion and, if necessary, can inform the referee of a wrong decision by radio.

In lower-class games, for reasons of cost and the fact that there are not enough referees, assistant referees are usually not appointed. Some associations then dispense with assistant referees entirely, while other associations stipulate that each of the clubs involved must provide an assistant referee. Their area of ​​responsibility is then limited to the display "Ball is out", they are not allowed to display offside or other rule violations. These actors are officially called “non-neutral assistant referees” or “club referee assistants”, but as such are also noted by name in the match report.

In Austria, a certified assistant referee is employed as assistant referee in the lower classes. These have a training course every three years by the referee panel, but are not members of it, but members of one of the clubs involved. These auxiliary referees are allowed to direct youth and reserve matches or act as assistant referees. They must report offside while watching the attack of their own club.

Assistant referees come into play in Germany, depending on the regional association , from the U 15 (C youth) upper league, or U 17 (B youth) regional league or U 19 (A youth) regional upper league. In the case of seniors, the lowest division with SRA fluctuates between the regional league and the regional league, depending on the regional association.

Playoffs in Germany, for example for promotion or relegation from individual leagues or relegation games, especially in the senior sector, are generally led by referee teams in some state associations - i.e. referees plus two assistants.

Additional Assistant Referee

In the UEFA Europa League , so-called additional assistant referees , colloquially called goal judges, were used in the 2009/10 season . AARs are positioned at the level of the goal line and support the referee in actions near the penalty area. The UEFA wanted to counteract bad decisions and curb public debate on technical aids in football. The measure did not achieve the desired effect at the beginning and in some cases led to an increased call for the approval of technical aids such as video evidence, which are already used in ice hockey or American football . However, FIFA and UEFA have long been skeptical of this idea. Since the 2010/11 season, the Additional Assistant Referees have also been used in the UEFA Champions League .


Linesmen in tennis at the 2016 French Open

When Tennis line judges are stationed on the sidelines and call "Off", "Out" or "Fault" if the ball touches the ground outside the court, as well as " foot fault " or "Foot Fault" at an overrun error. In addition to closely observing the various lines of the tennis court, the linesmen are also an aid to the chair referee, coordinate certain processes during the game and support the referee with small tasks before and after the game. The linesmen are the only officials on the tennis court besides the chair referee and the head referee, who is normally not on the field.

ice Hockey

In ice hockey , the two linesmen mainly observe the blue lines in order to whistle or indicate offside if necessary and carry out face-offs that do not take place at the center. In addition, they watch out for unauthorized long-range shots ( icing ), incorrect player changes and can be consulted by the main referee in disputed scenes.

Main referees are often missing in lower leagues. Then two equal referees direct the game (two-man system). In higher leagues, this only occurs if the main referee is absent shortly before or during the game.


When volleyball two or four line judges (LR) are used. In higher-class games they indicate with the help of a flag, otherwise with a show of hands:

  • whether the ball landed in the field or out of bounds or
  • whether a player from the team playing on the relevant side was the last to touch the ball (touché) ,
  • whether the ball touched a net antenna or crossed the net outside of it,
  • if a player touches the antenna while playing the ball,
  • if the server has stepped on or crossed the baseline or
  • if another player is not in the field of play at the moment of service.

In Germany, in some of the lower leagues, there is no LR, in the higher leagues two LR are only required in the 1st Bundesliga. In international competitions four LR are generally used.

Web links

Wiktionary: Linesmen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Linesman  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Goal judge in the Europa League. Explosive revolution , star.
  2. Europa League premiere. Gate judges do not prevent wrong decisions , Welt Online.
  3. Christoph Kneer: Gate judge in the Europa League. Curious debut , Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).
  4. President Joseph Blatter causes displeasure through indiscretion. FIFA does not have goal judges or kickers.
  5. ^ Football FIFA. International Board advises on gate judges , Handelsblatt.
  6. Hand and signal signals from the referee and linesman