Here's a reminder of our Euro 2008 final question:

You Are The Ref

It is the final of Euro 2008. You are the ref and your assistant referee is having a TERRIBLE game.

Every time the ball is played forward in his half he flags for offside. He makes two or three decisions that you can clearly see are wrong and you overrule him, allowing play to continue.

At half-time you are fortunate enough to see footage of several clear goalscoring opportunities that were ruled out by your assistant. You have a word with him and he assures you he is fit and well and, from where he was standing, the players appeared to be clearly offside.

In the second half the scenario is reversed - the assistant's flag stays down for 20 minutes and a goal is scored when the player looked offside to you, but you couldn't be sure.

After overruling the assistant for the second time on a CLEAR decision, you are faced with the possibility he may be getting these decisions wrong, not by accident but on purpose.

You have stopped play for offside. The managers and the players of both teams are understandably angry, but not doing anything that warrants action from you.

One team is asking for the assistant to be removed, the other is berating you for constantly overruling him.

What would you do?

Keith Hackett's answer
This is another good question but not possible in the Premier League because the officials do not have access to replayed television footage of the first half in their dressing rooms.

However, if this was the case and the referee believes his assistant referee was affecting his overall performance and the result of the game, then he would dispense with his services.

The referee would not abandon the game. At Euro 2008 each game has a fifth official and it is likely he would take over running the line.

In this scenario in the Premier League the fourth official would probably replace the assistant referee, with the problem then being who would take over the fourth official's duties.

It would be unwise to ask the assistant to assume the fourth official role because then he could attract unnecessary comments and/or abuse from the dug-outs.

The referee would have created another problem which could have been avoided. So it would be wiser if he dispenses with the assistant completely.

There's often a qualified referee in the crowd who could take over the fourth official's duties, or the assessor if present, or even a willing volunteer.

I can remember a First Division game in September 1972 between Arsenal and Liverpool that ended in a goalless draw when there was no fourth official and TV pundit Jimmy Hill ran the line.

After the game the referee would write a report and let the governing body controlling the game (Uefa in the case of Euro 2008) decide what action to take depending on what was in the report.

The governing body would decide whether to allow the result to stand or order the game to be replayed. There might also be other measures which they may wish to take.

The assistant would be immediately withdrawn from any further appointments until the investigation is complete. If there was any suspicion of corruption then the matter would be investigated by the police.

If found guilty the official's career would be over.

If the referee had the problem with a club assistant referee on a park pitch - some club assistants are too biased - then he would dispense with his services and ask the club for another assistant.

If there wasn't one available, the referee would officiate from a position that would keep him close enough to that particular touchline to see if the ball goes out of play.

Also, the referee would have to be in a position to be able to judge offside when required. He would need to do a lot of running!

Thanks to Chester_Rd_Parade_Cancelled for this question.

Many thanks for all your suggestions and comments over the last few weeks. We will have a final Euro 2008 You Are The Ref next week, so if you have any further scenarios please submit them using the comments below. We reserve the right to modify any we select.


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