I was discussing additional officials on Twitter during my day off yesterday. I’m an exciting guy, as I’m sure you’re already aware. The conversation was about why additional assistant referees (henceforth AARs) stand on the same side of the field as the assistant referees (henceforth ARs) and Jonathan Wilson put a point that I’ve seen on AskTheRef.com that the initial set-up interfered with the referee’s diagonal running pattern for controlling the game.
I found a UEFA document detailing the positioning of the AARs and it stated they should be on the opposite side to the ARs as it gives greater coverage. That idea was obviously shelved between 2009/10 and now, as certainly, when John Terry hooked the ball off the line against Ukraine the other day, the AAR was on the same side as the AR – on the right hand side of the team going attacking.
My initial thinking about this (indeed I posted a pretty appalling picture illustrating it yesterday) was that being on the opposite side as the AR wouldn’t help the AAR that much as it would create a larger area of doubt between themselves wherein they, and the referee would have a perspective of events that wasn’t vastly different.
I present to you, then, two diagrams. Diagram A (below) shows my opinion of the field of vision for the three officials under the previous set-up; highlighted to the point I think they can be legitimately thought to hold a decisive view.
Referees are meant to be under 20 yards from incidents, as I recall – the highlighted areas are a little smaller than that, though – my thinking being that penalty areas, when the ball is inside them, are crowded; seeing things through 20 yards of humans is tricky. You’ll see that there’s a small gap between the three colours to the right hand side of the goal as we look. It isn’t massive, and obviously the officials would be able to see into it, but there’s a distance to cover first.
Diagram B (below) shows the same concept, but under the current set-up.
As you can see, the coverage demanded of each official is a lot more even, so the AR and AAR should be able to offer the referee valid opinions from closer, and the referee himself has less ground to ‘see’. I discovered yesterday that this point of visual coverage is difficult to make in just words – this being a case of a picture telling 1000 of them, I hope you can see the point I’m trying to make, and I’d love to know if you agree or disagree. Reply here, or tweet me (@Marco4J).
Edit – Replaced the faded pitches on Friday evening. Look a bit brighter.