Goal – no goal situation – what assistant referees should do

Very strange situation in Dutch highest amateur league: the assistant referee spots that the ball has crossed the line, but play goes on for about two minutes before the referee finally awards the goal.

It’s an amateur match between Noordwijk and Scheveningen and referee Andries Dijkstra let the play continue after a goal – no goal situation. After two minutes he decides to have a talk with his assistant referee, who assures him the ball has crossed the line. A form of miscommunication between the match officals.

Check out the video of the goal – no goal situation and read what went wrong and the solution to avoid miscommunication below.

What the assistant referee should have done in tis ‘goal – no goal’ situaton according to the Laws of the Game: “When a goal has been scored but the ball appears still to be in play, the assistant referee must first raise his flag to attract the referee’s attention then continue with the normal goal procedure of running quickly 25-30 metres along the touch line towards the halfway line.”

The Dutch guidelines add to that: “The assistant should stay on the goal line to show he was in a good position.” It also says an assistant referee “should point to the middle line after raising his flag” and then continue with the normal goal procedure.

But was the assistant referee in a good position during this situation? No, he wasn’t. That’s what might have confused him so he followed the normal goal procedure and walked with his flag to the middle line. There were doubts if it was a goal.

So what would you do then? If he ran through to the back line and raised his flag, some players could start moaning that he wasn’t there at the moment the ball crossed the line, but not everyone would have noticed. And if he was 100% sure about his call, why not do that? Then it was immediately clear to referee, players and spectators that he saw that the ball has crossed the line.

That’s also what referee Andries Dijkstra tells after the match before the camera’s of local tv station TV West. “There was no doubt by the assistant referee, but there was some miscommunication. By giving a flag signal, it would have been clear to me that it was a goal. Those moments are annoying and people will remind you of it. But it’s a good point I’ve learned for next time. I’m sorry because if it, it doesn’t give me a good feeling, because we [referees] are sportsmen and want to do everything in a good way. We got to learn from this.”

Update: Also found another video where the assistant referee runs to the middle line in a goal – no goal situation. He wants to show the referee that it’s a goal, but the ref didn’t understand it the first time. But that was not the only thing that went wrong. It looks like it that the ball did not cross the line at all.