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AR briefing: "Split the pitch into thirds"

Trip

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
"We'll do the usual, split the pitch into thirds, you lead in your third."

I've heard this several times in referee's briefings and never understood what "my third" of the pitch is supposed to be. Can a referee who uses this please explain?
 
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JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
If you take the touch line and break it into thirds, your third is the third of the pitch that you are patrolling from the goal line up to 33.3% of the touchline. The middle third is the next bit..and the refs third is the opposite end of the pitch to where.you are patrolling.

The thinking is that the referee is likely to have a better view and go deeper into the opposite end so is the most credible for directional decision and likewise he is unlikely to go into your end as its.off the usual patrol path and you would be the best placed match official to advise the direction.
 

Trip

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
So the area I've bordered in black here is the 3rd of the pitch where the AR at the bottom right would lead?

mythird.png

If so, I find that quite surprising. Surely the referee would be more credible on the other side of the PA ? Maybe I've misunderstood.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
So the area I've bordered in black here is the 3rd of the pitch where the AR at the bottom right would lead?

View attachment 5725

If so, I find that quite surprising. Surely the referee would be more credible on the other side of the PA ? Maybe I've misunderstood.
Only your side. The other side he works with the AR on the opposite side of the pitch.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
I think ”lead in your third” is also strange.

As a ref, you want your AR to flag a foul only in exceptional circumstances - and only when you the ref has not clearly made a non-decision.

An AR just doesn’t need to flag most fouls between them and the referee. Yes, there are times when flagging is good for credibility, sometimes for support, and of course if the ref obviously does not see.

But generally I get uncomfortable watching beginner ARs that are eager to flag fouls. I think the skill to learn is how to see your referee’s reaction and then make sure you support and don’t undermine. Don’t break the team!

And in the OP, a line from the near post to where the halfway line meets the touch line makes more sense. That’s the area you can make credible supporting foul signals.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
I think ”lead in your third” is also strange.

As a ref, you want your AR to flag a foul only in exceptional circumstances - and only when you the ref has not clearly made a non-decision.

An AR just doesn’t need to flag most fouls between them and the referee. Yes, there are times when flagging is good for credibility, sometimes for support, and of course if the ref obviously does not see.

But generally I get uncomfortable watching beginner ARs that are eager to flag fouls. I think the skill to learn is how to see your referee’s reaction and then make sure you support and don’t undermine. Don’t break the team!

And in the OP, a line from the near post to where the halfway line meets the touch line makes more sense. That’s the area you can make credible supporting foul signals.
The dividing of the touchline is purely for direction of ball out of play.
Fouls and misconduct would be covered separately.
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
I think ”lead in your third” is also strange.

As a ref, you want your AR to flag a foul only in exceptional circumstances - and only when you the ref has not clearly made a non-decision.

An AR just doesn’t need to flag most fouls between them and the referee. Yes, there are times when flagging is good for credibility, sometimes for support, and of course if the ref obviously does not see.

But generally I get uncomfortable watching beginner ARs that are eager to flag fouls. I think the skill to learn is how to see your referee’s reaction and then make sure you support and don’t undermine. Don’t break the team!

And in the OP, a line from the near post to where the halfway line meets the touch line makes more sense. That’s the area you can make credible supporting foul signals.
The usual use of thirds in England is briefed as something like "For throw ins, I will leave you to lead in your third, I will usually lead in my third, and for the middle third we will look at each other and use a 'down below' indication before signalling"

If unsure, look at me to lead you"
 

Kref

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
When I was an AR for a step 4/5 game I got a really good briefing from the main ref and that was about my oval of credibilty. I've heard other refs say about the thirds thing however its just not as pratical. Below is a rough draw of what I am trying to say.
1655493777650.png
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
When I was an AR for a step 4/5 game I got a really good briefing from the main ref and that was about my oval of credibilty. I've heard other refs say about the thirds thing however its just not as pratical. Below is a rough draw of what I am trying to say.
View attachment 5726
It has benefits only as long as the referee is happy for you to extend it when beneficial to do so, e. g. when the referee is caught behind a quick break and you are best placed to judge an incident/appeal in the penalty area at your end.
 

Russell Jones

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
We need to be really clear here .. there are two different parts of briefing NARs regarding where they should take the lead (where comms are not available).

The first is on throw ins. Many referees 'split into thirds' as above. Personally I find this over complex and simply split into the two halves ie you lead in your half (I'll be giving my opinion by hand signal) and I'll lead in my half (unless I'm looking at you for help!)

The second is on free kicks. The oval (as above) that moves with the AR is one typical way. I simply say 'who is everyone looking at to give the decision' .. 9/10 it's the ref but there are typically a couple of occasions per game where the AR is better placed and should take the lead. Penalties are however a whole different story! And this guidance can vary depending on whether you have ARs you know and trust implicitly or those who are an unknown quantity.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
We need to be really clear here .. there are two different parts of briefing NARs regarding where they should take the lead (where comms are not available).

The first is on throw ins. Many referees 'split into thirds' as above. Personally I find this over complex and simply split into the two halves ie you lead in your half (I'll be giving my opinion by hand signal) and I'll lead in my half (unless I'm looking at you for help!)

The second is on free kicks. The oval (as above) that moves with the AR is one typical way. I simply say 'who is everyone looking at to give the decision' .. 9/10 it's the ref but there are typically a couple of occasions per game where the AR is better placed and should take the lead. Penalties are however a whole different story! And this guidance can vary depending on whether you have ARs you know and trust implicitly or those who are an unknown quantity.
This is great briefing advice. Really simple too: "who is everyone looking at to give the decision" - that's great for beginner ARs to understand and probably helps them slow down and think.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
😻
I think a lot of Pre-Match, is just the R trying to think of original ideas to impressa Mr. Observer
Hard to believe, I am an observer now. Last week my ref had two very new ARs and the game was dull. So, a lot of what we talked about was how to brief ARs and how to cope with ARs who might need training on the spot - especially as we had one flag a penalty and the other trying to overule the ref at every corner!
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
😻
I think a lot of Pre-Match, is just the R trying to think of original ideas to impressa Mr. Observer
Possible in some cases, but most observers have not been present at pre-match instructions for the last two seasons (Covid protocols still in place)
The "split into thirds" or "Your half you lead, my half I will lead" is nearly always with the add-on "I will lead you in with a signal at waist level to avoid conflict over the restart" (or similar) but it really depends on how experienced the referee and the AR's are, as others have said.
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
😻
I think a lot of Pre-Match, is just the R trying to think of original ideas to impressa Mr. Observer
I mean, yes. But replying to a post on "thirds" isn't relevant for that - that's so standard around where I work that the only way to creatively try to impress the observer would be to come up with something other than thirds!
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Nothing to do with impressing observers, rather making sure you work as a team. If you don't do the briefing and there is a throw-in 10 yards from the half way line on the ARs side how does he know whether to lead on the signal or not? He might have worked with some referees who split in 3rds and other halves. That leaves a risk that neither official signals, or even worse they both signal at the same time but in opposite directions. Now that certainly wouldn't impress me as an observer.
 
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ASM

Moderator
Staff member
Level 3 Referee
Nothing to do with impressing observers, rather making sure you work as a team. If you don't do the briefing and there is a throw-in 10 years from the half way line on the ARs side how does he know whether to lead on the signal or not? He might have worked with some referees who split in 3rds and other halves. That leaves a risk that neither official signals, or even worse they both signal at the same time but in opposite directions. Now that certainly wouldn't impress me as an observer.

How long are your games if the throw in is 10 years in!
 
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