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18 Dec 2009
LMA Technical Review of Additional Assistant Referees

The League Managers Association (LMA) today published a review on the experiment of Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) in the Europa League.

In this season’s Europa League group stage, which commenced on 17 September 2009, UEFA implemented two new officials, known as AARs, to enhance the control of the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game, particularly inside the penalty area or where the AAR has a better view than the referee.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the experiment, the LMA performed the following:

•    Collated the opinions of participating British managers David Moyes (Everton), Roy Hodgson (Fulham) and Tony Mowbray (Glasgow Celtic).
•    Collated the opinions of respected LMA members with a close interest in the experiment and the overall improvement of the game.
•    Attended and reported on all British home matches with the aid of match video/DVD.

In theory the AAR experiment should have been a success but in practice the results were mixed. The AAR appears reluctant to get involved and seems to be dominated by the referee and at times by the assistant referee, even when the AAR has the best view.

The AAR is a top level official and his abilities appeared not to be used to the fullest potential, in this initial experiment.

Further to FIFA’s decision to continue the experiment into the knockout stages of the Europa League, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the AAR, the LMA propose, the following recommendations:

•    Additional trials involving a greater sample of games, incorporating LMA recommendations.
•    There should also be trialling of goal line technology and video replays.
•    AARs should not be seen as an alternative to the use of technology.
•    FIFA and UEFA should establish objective parameters. Key indices should be agreed and data collected to compare with historical data for the same competition (UEFA Cup).
•    Managers and coaches throughout the world, as well as players and referees should be consulted.
•    The AAR should be encouraged to contribute more to decision making.
•    Arrangements should be made for referees and AARs to spend time practicing in simulated situations on a weekly basis, in and out of competition. Identifying infringements and effective decision making needs constant practice and the need is even more acute when considering the implementation of AARs.
•    Football needs good quality referees and AARs. Ex-players and coaches are excellent candidates for this, provided accreditation of their years playing and coaching the game is recognized in an accelerated training process.
•    In FIFA’s continued trialling, AARs should be given the responsibility to indicate to all personnel that they have seen an infringement. The referee must of course have the final say, he/she can accept, refuse or indeed change their mind but the information from a proactive highly qualified AAR should improve decision making in vital areas of the field.
•    As well as the need for continued training in communication between teams of officials, guidelines should be compiled by FIFA/UEFA experts specific to AAR/referee communication.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the LMA, commented: “The LMA initiated the study as it places great importance on technical issues within the game. The LMA and other relevant bodies are convinced that goal line technology is crucial for the development of the game but are also supportive of this type of experiment, in that it should lead to improved decision making by officials. Football has changed and developed enormously over recent years and the job of the referee has become increasingly difficult. A significant number of our members have been actively involved in the contents of this document.”

The LMA will now present its findings to football’s governing bodies including FIFA and UEFA as an integral part of the LMA’s programme of support for professional referees and improving standards in the professional game in England and Wales.

A full copy of the report is available by clicking here

For additional information, please also click here for the joint LMA/PFA document – Refereeing: A Professional Way Forward

For further information please contact:

Richard Bevan, chief executive, 07860 474767

T: 01283 576350 F: 01283 576351 E: © League Managers Association 2014
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