Ref4Me

AR briefing: "Split the pitch into thirds"

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
On the rare occasions that I have qualified ARs, I don't ever use that "thirds" terminology, nor do I try to lay down "credible areas".

For me, it's about letting the AR signal something that I may have missed or been caught out of position with when it comes to FKs.

@Russell Jones example is a sound approach.

With free kicks, 9 out of 10 times (hopefully) I'm going to be up with play, see it and hopefully blow at the same time my AR signals it. Good all-round sell. For the odd occasion I'm caught out of position or unsighted, my AR needs to have the confidence to flag for it. Laying down "credible areas" during a pre-match may discourage my AR from doing that so I tend not to do it.
 
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GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
I was about to write a whole post, then half-way through realised I was accidentally re-writing @Russell Jones 's post #11 from the previous page.

Thirds for throw-ins is really standard. It makes sense, is widely understood and is an approach any of us should be prepared to use before picking up a flag.

Thirds for fouls is weird. It allows too much variation in tolerance between sides of the pitch and doesn't account for distance from the AR's patrol line, position of the referee or which side of the player the foul occurs on. If you're the AR and the referee says to split the pitch into thirds for fouls, query it. Ask what you're supposed to do if the ball is over the other side of the pitch etc. They then will clarify - usually either setting a horizontal zone for your credibility as well as vertical thirds, drawing imaginary lines (from the corner of the PA to the half-way line is the normal one) or talk about distance from you (as in the moving semi-circle).

I don't really think thirds for fouls is a system people use, so it's odd to see so many people assume that's the case. I've certainly never seen it.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
I was about to write a whole post, then half-way through realised I was accidentally re-writing @Russell Jones 's post #11 from the previous page.

Thirds for throw-ins is really standard. It makes sense, is widely understood and is an approach any of us should be prepared to use before picking up a flag.

Thirds for fouls is weird. It allows too much variation in tolerance between sides of the pitch and doesn't account for distance from the AR's patrol line, position of the referee or which side of the player the foul occurs on. If you're the AR and the referee says to split the pitch into thirds for fouls, query it. Ask what you're supposed to do if the ball is over the other side of the pitch etc. They then will clarify - usually either setting a horizontal zone for your credibility as well as vertical thirds, drawing imaginary lines (from the corner of the PA to the half-way line is the normal one) or talk about distance from you (as in the moving semi-circle).

I don't really think thirds for fouls is a system people use, so it's odd to see so many people assume that's the case. I've certainly never seen it.

For fouls I generally just talk about credibility rather than areas on the pitch. If I am closer and have been able to see it don't come in. If its in an area of the pitch that clearly isn't credible for you only come in if you are 100% sure I've dropped a major clanger and need rescuing, or I've been hopelessly caught out on a fast break and I'm miles away. If I am staring at you and boring a hole in your head I need urgent help as I haven't got a scooby ...!!
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Thirds for throw-ins is really standard
Can't be 'really standard'. Might be for you or even your area, but not something I've encountered too often. Indeed, when a Ref goes into that much detail, I might be zoning out by that stage
A number of us are saying we don't mention it. I've been out with ex-EFL AR's in the middle and the idea wasn't part of their spiel

Quite honestly, I find pre-match really boring (both as a giver or taker). It's up there with checking studs & sock tape. The repetitive nature of it, with some R's trying to think of something new all the time, purely to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, many observers seem equally disinterested by it. Despite pre-match specified as a 5-to-4 Competency, I was pleasantly surprised when half of them didn't bother listening in

IMO. guidance should be standardised in the back of the book and be left at that. Refs could then just spend a few minutes discussing any specific challenges they're anticipating on the day. Comical, on occasion I've seen R's with iPads, form guides, whiteboards. Just say's to me, 'here's someone whose really desperate for promotion'
 
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RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Can't be 'really standard'. Might be for you or even your area, but not something I've encountered too often. Indeed, when a Ref goes into that much detail, I might be zoning out by that stage
A number of us are saying we don't mention it. I've been out with ex-EFL AR's in the middle and the idea wasn't part of their spiel

Quite honestly, I find pre-match really boring (both as a giver or taker). It's up there with checking studs & sock tape. The repetitive nature of it, with some R's trying to think of something new all the time, purely to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, many observers seem equally disinterested by it. Despite pre-match specified as a 5-to-4 Competency, I was pleasantly surprised when half of them didn't bother listening in

IMO. guidance should be standardised in the back of the book and be left at that. Refs could then just spend a few minutes discussing any specific challenges they're anticipating on the day. Comical, on occasion I've seen R's with iPads, form guides, whiteboards. Just say's to me, 'here's someone whose really desperate for promotion'

Given that observers weren't able to listen to it for ages, and I think at some levels still technically can't, not sure how bored of it they are.

It should be brief, to the point and focused, but not doing any kind of pre-match is setting you up for a fall. Yes, it is repetitive, but even the SG1 referees that work with the same assistants every week, do it as it gets them focused.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Given that observers weren't able to listen to it for ages, and I think at some levels still technically can't, not sure how bored of it they are.

It should be brief, to the point and focused, but not doing any kind of pre-match is setting you up for a fall. Yes, it is repetitive, but even the SG1 referees that work with the same assistants every week, do it as it gets them focused.
It's akin to the safety briefing on your favourite airline before take-off. It's a drill. I agree, it should be focused and to the point
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Can't be 'really standard'. Might be for you or even your area, but not something I've encountered too often. Indeed, when a Ref goes into that much detail, I might be zoning out by that stage
A number of us are saying we don't mention it. I've been out with ex-EFL AR's in the middle and the idea wasn't part of their spiel

Quite honestly, I find pre-match really boring (both as a giver or taker). It's up there with checking studs & sock tape. The repetitive nature of it, with some R's trying to think of something new all the time, purely to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, many observers seem equally disinterested by it. Despite pre-match specified as a 5-to-4 Competency, I was pleasantly surprised when half of them didn't bother listening in

IMO. guidance should be standardised in the back of the book and be left at that. Refs could then just spend a few minutes discussing any specific challenges they're anticipating on the day. Comical, on occasion I've seen R's with iPads, form guides, whiteboards. Just say's to me, 'here's someone whose really desperate for promotion'
If you're zoning out at "we'll split the pitch into thirds for throw ins today" then I would have serious concerns about your ability to concentrate through the match. Because it's so standard, that's literally all I need to say on the topic unless I'm working with a clearly new AR.
(It's also what I would assume we're doing if I was AR and the ref didn't mention - but I will accept regional variation is likely on that point.)

I don't know why you're getting the idea in your head that people are droning on forever about it - but it is one of the AR's core responsibilities and so it should be touched upon in the pre-match briefing. And observers would be quite right to ask what the approach is to throws if they are watching the briefing and it's not mentioned.

Agree with you to an extent on your final point, although I suspect once you're looking around the world you'd fine further regional variation on something you might consider standard and so you wouldn't get much of a "standard instructions" section anyway. But until that happens, briefings have to happen and a good briefing will include some mention of throw ins, because it's something the AR will spend a good chunk of the game thinking about.
 
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GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
For fouls I generally just talk about credibility rather than areas on the pitch. If I am closer and have been able to see it don't come in. If its in an area of the pitch that clearly isn't credible for you only come in if you are 100% sure I've dropped a major clanger and need rescuing, or I've been hopelessly caught out on a fast break and I'm miles away. If I am staring at you and boring a hole in your head I need urgent help as I haven't got a scooby ...!!
Fair enough, that's an appropriate system too. I only ended up listing other areas in response to a fictional referee who starts with "thirds for fouls today" - if a referee doesn't really want AR's help with fouls in most situations, they're unlikely to start by discussing thirds!
 

PinnerPaul

RefChat Addict
Level 7 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 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.
Have to agree. Roughly half my 60 odd games last season were as an AR and the pre matches DO vary. Some go thirds, some go halves on throws, even had one (level 3) say he would not be signalling ANY throws at all. Areas for foul calls from the AR vary as well from a very detailed defined area, to "anything that is credible".

The pre match is not the place to question a (usually senior) referee's methodology, but as you say, its the time to make sure you are all working as a team.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
As the saying goes, assume makes an ass of you and me. If you assume you that the ARs know what you want in terms on throwins and free kicks you are setting yourself up for a fall, even more so if it is someone you haven't regularly worked with before.
 

RefIADad

RefChat Addict
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.
View attachment 5726

In my pregame, I always give my ARs two pretty constant pieces of advice.

1) Regarding fouls, I tell my ARs that the closer the ball gets to you in your quadrant, the more confident and assertive I want them to be calling fouls. We're a team, and if there's a foul right in front of you then call it. You'll have the better view anyway. I'll also look to you a lot more in this area. I also tell my ARs that if the ball is in the corner and I start to peel off anticpating a cross, then the AR has full authority to call fouls on anything that isn't a penalty. I'll go with that signal. I will ALWAYS tell my ARs I want first look for possible penalties. If I'm firmly indicating no penalty, then I had a good look and will go with my call. If I'm not sure and stare down my AR, I'm looking for a foul call if there is one.

2) For out of bounds, I instruct my ARs that from the post to the half line in your quadrant, it's your call first. I'll give "soft signals" down by my hip, but if you are confident that it's going the other way from my signal then flag the other way and I'll go with you. If you feel comfortable angling your flag some or putting the flag in the hand you feel is direction, then do that. If you and I give soft signals in opposite directions, if I'm not sure I'll drop my signal and go with you. If I'm confident, then I'll keep my soft signal. I then want the AR to go with my signal. If we are using comms (which we do use a lot in non-USSF matches in the US), I'll give my verbal direction calls as well.

Now when I'm an AR, I'll angle my flag below my waist. If the center goes in the opposite direction, then I go with his/her direction. However, my "soft signal" is my recommendation and the center can follow it as desired. I talk through this in the pregame. Using my flag soft signal prevents us from crossing signals.
 

Kent Ref

RefChat Addict
Many years ago a ref told me (AR) i don't want ANY penalties given by you at all.

If i want help i will ask.

Lo-and-behold there was a definite foul by a keeper close to my side. Attackers appealed and ref shouted "no". Not even a look at me. A lot of very unhappy bunnies and a yellow card given for dissent to the fouled player.

After the game i told him he missed a 100% penalty and he said "you stuck to what i told you - well done".

Total arrogance.
 

Anubis

RefChat Addict
Many years ago a ref told me (AR) i don't want ANY penalties given by you at all.

If i want help i will ask.

Lo-and-behold there was a definite foul by a keeper close to my side. Attackers appealed and ref shouted "no". Not even a look at me. A lot of very unhappy bunnies and a yellow card given for dissent to the fouled player.

After the game i told him he missed a 100% penalty and he said "you stuck to what i told you - well done".

Total arrogance.

I have never experienced that, prob never will

but if I did, I would honestly reply with, if those are your instructions am going home

in the absence of not speaking up, I absolutely would be flagging and wont budge until the referee has the chat, if he then still womt give it, fine.

any ar that goes along with said instructions is as inept as the referee
 

Kent Ref

RefChat Addict
In the pre-match i did speak up and i was told "that's how i do things". When i spoke up again i was told "there's nothing more to say". At that point i thought "did that really happen?"

This was over 12 years ago but as a ref i decided i would never be like that with my assistants.

I reported this to the ref sec after and answer was "this guy's been doing our league for xxx years and it's his choice".

I have never been inept. Inexperienced - yes.

Try and be polite - it's not hard.
 

Anubis

RefChat Addict
In the pre-match i did speak up and i was told "that's how i do things". When i spoke up again i was told "there's nothing more to say". At that point i thought "did that really happen?"

This was over 12 years ago but as a ref i decided i would never be like that with my assistants.

I reported this to the ref sec after and answer was "this guy's been doing our league for xxx years and it's his choice".

I have never been inept. Inexperienced - yes.

Try and be polite - it's not hard.

( it was not aimed at you esp as its past tense and cant be changed)

I try to rephrase, " any ar who tolerates that instruction ( not tolerated) cannot have any gripes as they consider it acceptable"

going forward, should said instructions be issued in an observed game, quoting back the instructions to the observer will not wash, even the ref admitting such instruction will not save an ar from a doing.

team effort, yes, but always cover your own back, we wesr the badge of an association, not the badge of Dave, the 20 year exp referee

As the Manics sung If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will be Next
 
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RefIADad

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
In the pre-match i did speak up and i was told "that's how i do things". When i spoke up again i was told "there's nothing more to say". At that point i thought "did that really happen?"

This was over 12 years ago but as a ref i decided i would never be like that with my assistants.

I reported this to the ref sec after and answer was "this guy's been doing our league for xxx years and it's his choice".

I have never been inept. Inexperienced - yes.

Try and be polite - it's not hard.
Yeah, what you are describing is NOT good and something I wouldn’t do. What I want to avoid is “crossed signals” for a penalty kick. I tell my ARs that a nod, talking to me over comms if we are using them, etc. is always welcome and needed. I’ll almost always look at my ARs first if a penalty is in the AR’s quadrant. If I’m getting a shake of the head or a wave of the hand below the waist, that gives me information.

If I’m giving a point to the ball or a cutting the grass signal and my AR is wiggling the flag and running to the corner, that’s not a good look.
 

Anubis

RefChat Addict
Why would you be "giving a point to the ball"?

100%

am guessing it means, got the ball

which is confusing, as we know, or should know, getting the ball does not mean we cant have a foul


it simply puts extra pressure on an already nervy Ar
 
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RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
but if I did, I would honestly reply with, if those are your instructions am going home
Easy to say that on a forum, but in reality you wouldn't do it as you know it would get you suspended. The referee is in charge, as long as his instructions comply with law he can tell you what he wants, no matter how much you disagree with it. I don't agree with those that cut their assistants out, but they do exist and I've worked with several over the years, including as high as the National League Premier.
 

Kent Ref

RefChat Addict
Easy to say that on a forum, but in reality you wouldn't do it as you know it would get you suspended. The referee is in charge, as long as his instructions comply with law he can tell you what he wants, no matter how much you disagree with it. I don't agree with those that cut their assistants out, but they do exist and I've worked with several over the years, including as high as the National League Premier.
That's what i was thinking.

Would you walk off in reality?
 
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