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Question Number: 32816

High School 10/19/2018

RE: Varsity High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

Just so I'm not crazy, I need to ask this question:

What is the proper positioning on a PK using 2 Referees?

I was trail ref when the lead ref called a PK. He set up next to the penalty spot and told me to go to the goal line. Keeper saves the ball, and throws it immediately for a counter attack. I am sprinting goal line to goal line and I probably missed an offside call because of that. Goal is scored at the other end of the field and the kids are complaining about offside.

I couldn't see it, therefore I couldn't call it. But I wonder if our roles had been switched on the PK that I would've been able to judge the offside.

In case you are wondering, several factors played into our communication, mostly at pregame:
- Bad weather was coming, so the teams wanted to play and get a game in
- 3 of the 5 officials for the Varsity and JV games being played were late
- AD pulls me from the JV game to start the Varsity game ahead of schedule
- My partner was a State Final ref, but we had never worked together before so I don't know what his confidence level was with me
- 5 minutes into the Varsity game another ref shows up and relieves me from Varsity to ref the JV game.
- Bad weather came early and suspended the games. We never saw each other again...

Thanks for your time.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


The answer you are seeking can be found in Diagram 7 on page 88 of your 2018-2019 NFHS Rules Book.

As the trail, you should have been positioned at the corner of the penalty area behind the kicker and on an opposite diagonal from the lead official who is positioned on the goal line.

As the trail, you are to watch for violations by the kicker and the non-kicking players.

The lead watches for a violation by the goalkeeper and for the ball entering or not entering the goal.

As is obvious to you, having you, the trail, positioned on the goal line made it very difficult to cover a fast attack at the opposite end of the field.

Because officials now almost always use the 1 referee and two Assistant referee or 3 referee (3 whistle) system, many referees are not familiar with dual officiating mechanics. I expect that this is what happened in your situation.

Fortunately (maybe unfortunately), my first 25 years of officiating of high school and college games required the sole use of the dual officiating system, so even today, I prefer to work using the dual and three whistle systems over the 1 referee and 2 assistant referee system.

I hope that helps and you never encounter this problem again.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
I am not familiar with the dual officiating system. Referee Manjone has outlined the advice in the positioning at PKs.
Anyway as a referee who does a lot of solo games I know from experience that deep positions in the penalty area at any play does present a huge difficulty in fast counter attacks. Trying to recover from such positions is certainly a test of fast sprinting. Circumstances can allow for recovery such as play getting held up etc but sometimes we just have to go with what unfolds.
In a recent high level game with three officials I had got in deep into the penalty area and the goalkeeper made a save with a very quick long punt. Play transitioned some 50 yards instantly so I was totally reliant on the trail AR for offside at half way and subsequent play. By the time I got to the far penalty area a goal had been scored with yet another possible offside call which by then the AR was the lead official.

As to missing a possible offside call that has to be expected. Even in a good starting position circumstances can contribute to not being well positioned to make a credible call. In addition the senior referee in your game gave the positioning instruction so I would just accept that particularly if I was looking for direction. If I was familiar with the positioning I would go to the advised location which would show that I knew the drill as it were.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Derek,
to be a referee you need to be bit off no harm in that lol but we work with all kinds in our career some better than other. Most are a pretty good assortment of guys & gals trying to do the best they can. A few are condescending, some tyrannical, others far too easy or relaxed. You always do the best you can & learn from the experiences. You emulate the good things and try to stay from the bad. Our resident expert of high school rule Joe Manjone has given you the correct information. Remember to study and know the LOTG or rules of any match you are in a paid position for, its a job, it requires effort & respect!

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