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Referees are part of the game of soccer in order to make the game as fair as possible. There may be times when we don't agree with the referees, but the reality is that referees make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
The referee's decision is always final including the final score.
In professional soccer there are usually one referee and two assistant referees. In some games there may be a fourth or even fifth referee calling the game.
The head referee is responsible to enforce the laws and rules of the game. This includes keeping track of the time, calling penalties, stopping play for an injury, checking that the ball meets the proper requirements, and even providing a match report after the game.
The assistant referees are generally called linesmen. Each assistant covers one of the touch lines. They make calls regarding whose ball it is when the ball goes out of bounds as well as offside. The assistant referee also provides advice to the head referee.
The assistant referee often uses a flag to signal calls such as offside and possession of the ball.
Direct Free Kick - Pointing one hand and arm indicating the direction.
Indirect Free Kick - The referee holds one hand straight in the air until the ball is played.
Goal Kick - The referee points in the direction of the goal.
Play on (Advantage) - Holds both arms out in front with palms up.
Caution or Expulsion - Holds the card high in one hand so all can see. The yellow card for a caution and red card for an expulsion.
Corner Kick - Points with one hand and arm toward the corner.
Penalty Kick - Points directly at the penalty mark.
Assistant Referee Signals (using the flag)
Offside - The linesman will point the flag when the offside occurs. The angle of the flag is used to indicate where the offside occurred.
- Downward at a 45 degree angle = on the third of the field or pitch nearest to the referee
- Even to the ground = in the middle of the field
- Upward at a 45 degree angle = on the third of the field or pitch furthest from the referee
Substitution - Holds the flag in both hands above the head.
Throw In - Points the flag in the direction of the throw in.
The whistle is generally used to signal the starting or stopping of play.
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