I’m a relatively new assistant referee. How do I keep an eye on both the offside line and whether the ball has gone out of play?

3 Answers 3


Assistant referees must watch for:

  • offside
  • ball going outside the field of play (including going into a goal)
  • fouls that are near you

Watching if the ball goes out of play is more important. Once every 5 seconds, quickly glance to keep up with the second to last defender and quickly note offside players. Right after the ball is kicked or not near a boundary line, you can look for offside. In most cases, it will be clear who is offside. If you are in doubt, keep your flag down.


I was referee for 5 years and I can tell you it is hard. We must separate two situations.

  1. Ball is on second half of the pitch. It is easier. You watch the ball; for example once every two seconds you will quickly look at the last defender.

  2. Ball is on your half of the pitch. It is harder, because you have to watch the ball quickly and back to the last defender. I think key for this is peripheral vision. This is ability which you can train. You will find a lot of training instructions on Google.


As a assistant referee

  • you are on one of the offside line near any of the teams sideline
  • one of the other assistant ref would be on the other sideline


There is something called a defence line also know as off side line this line is some times kept very high (closer to the halfline)

  • the assistant ref should stay on the same line as the defense line and move according to the defenders moving up and down

When ball goes out for throw its the job of main ref to give the throw to the respective team the only exception is

  • if the ball is very close to where the assistant ref is standing and if the main ref is far ,then its the job of assistant ref to raise the flag and give signal

how to keep an eye

  • Throw-In. When the ball crosses the touch line near to the assistant referee's position, the assistant referee must make a direct signal to indicate the direction of the throw-in

  • rest of the time focus on the off-side-line

check more here https://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/lawsandrules/laws/football-11-11/law-11---offside#:~:text=It%20is%20not%20an%20offence,and%20the%20second%2Dlast%20opponent


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