Meanings of all Assistant Referee Signals in Football/Soccer

In football (soccer), the assistant referees (also known as linesmen) play a crucial role in helping the main referee with several decisions during a match. They communicate their observations and decisions through a set of standardized flag signals.

Here are some of the common signals used by assistant referees:

  1. Offside:
    • The assistant referee raises the flag vertically above their head to signal offside. After the referee acknowledges the signal, the assistant points the flag in the direction of the offending team’s goal to indicate where the offense occurred.
  2. Throw-In:
    • For a throw-in, the assistant referee signals with the flag pointing in the direction that the team who has been awarded the throw-in will be attacking. This is done at waist level.
  3. Goal Kick:
    • To signal a goal kick, the assistant referee stands at the corner flag and points the flag horizontally towards the goal area.
  4. Corner Kick:
    • For a corner kick, the assistant referee moves to the corner nearest to where the ball crossed the goal line and points the flag downwards towards the corner.
  5. Substitution:
    • When a substitution is requested, the assistant referee will hold the flag horizontally across their chest.
  6. Fouls and Misconduct (Outside the View of the Referee):
    • If the assistant referee observes a foul or misconduct that the referee has not seen, they will signal by holding the flag straight up. After getting the referee’s attention, they will use discreet hand signals to communicate the nature of the offense.
  7. Tight Offside Decisions:
    • In cases of tight offside decisions where the assistant is not sure, they may keep the flag down initially and then make the offside signal once the player in question becomes actively involved in play.
  8. Ball Out of Play:
    • If the ball goes out of play along the touchline, the assistant referee signals by pointing the flag in the direction of the throw-in. If it’s unclear who touched the ball last, they may keep their flag down and consult with the referee.
  9. Goal Scored:
    • If a goal is scored and there are no issues, the assistant referee runs back towards the center line without signaling, indicating that they saw no infringements.
  10. No Foul or Offside:
    • For instances where an offside or foul might be suspected but the assistant referee believes none occurred, they may briefly make eye contact with the referee and keep the flag down, signaling that play should continue.
  11. Other Decisions:
    • For other decisions such as a ball crossing the byline for a goal kick or corner kick, the assistant referee’s position (either at the corner flag for a corner kick or level with the edge of the penalty area for a goal kick) coupled with their flag signal helps the referee make the correct decision.

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