Selling the Call
Sometimes referees have to “sell” their calls to players and coaches to maintain credibility. What do I mean by that? Well, here are examples from two of my recent games.
In the first instance a player drove the ball hard to the side of the keeper. She stretched back as the ball passed her and scooped the ball back with her arms fully outstretched. From my position (at the edge of the penalty box directly in line with her), I couldn’t tell if the entire ball had crossed the line for a goal. I glanced across at my Assistant Referee to receive confirmation of goal or no goal, and to my horror saw that he was standing 12 yards from the goal line.
In my pre-game briefing I stress that the Assistant Referee should always run with the ball to the goal line as he is the only person with a clear view looking across from the corner flag to accurately judge goals, goal kicks and corner kicks. From my position in the field, behind play, I cannot always tell whether or not the ball has crossed the line. In this case the Assistant Referee had a clear view and said that it was a goal, but muddied the issue by not giving me a clear indication of a goal by running towards the midline. As you can imagine, defending players and coaches were not shy to voice their complaints. However, the goal stood, and I’m glad to say that it was not the deciding goal in the game as the attacking team went on to score several more times.
In the second instance, an attacking player rushed the keeper, who was handling a hard-driven ground ball, and kicked it into the net. Once again my position behind play meant that I did not have a clear view of the action. As before, I glanced across at my Assistant Referee who, this time, had followed play and was exactly in line with ball and saw that the attacking player had kicked the ball out of the keeper’s hands. No goal and no protests this time because the Assistant Referee was in the correct position and made a clear signal to the Center Referee.
It’s so much easier to “sell” the call when the Center Referee and the Assistant Referee are well positioned and signals are seen to be in synch by players and coaches. England would have had Frank Lampard’s World Cup goal against Germany count if the Assistant Referee in that game had been in the right position to make the correct call:
Chris Lloyd, Marin FC parent and referee