Referees are allowed to support a team

Football rules

Additional match officials (two assistant referees, fourth official, two additional assistant referees, one substitute assistant referee, one video assistant referee (VAR) and at least one assistant to the VAR (AVAR)) may be called in for matches. These help the referee to conduct the game in accordance with the rules of the game. The final decision is always made by the referee.

The referee, assistant referees, fourth official, additional assistant referees and substitute assistant referees are the match officials on the field of play.

The VAR and the AVAR are the video match officials and assist the referee in accordance with the IFAB's VAR protocol.

The other match officials act under the direction of the referee. In the event of improper interference or improper behavior, the referee will remove them from their office and report to the competent authorities.

With the exception of the substitute assistant referee, the match officials on the field of play support the referee in the event of offenses and violations if they have a better view than the referee and report serious misconduct or other incidents to the competent authorities that are beyond the field of vision of the referee or other match officials happen. You must notify the referee and the other match officials of each report.

The match officials on the field assist the referee in checking the field, balls and player equipment (including determining whether any defects have been remedied) and note the time, goals, misconduct, etc.

The competition rules must clearly state who is replacing a match official if he is unable to start or continue the game, including any associated changes. In particular, it must be clearly regulated whether the fourth official, the first assistant referee or the first additional assistant referee will replace the referee in this case.

1. Assistant referees

The assistant referees indicate when:

  • the ball has completely left the field of play and which team is entitled to a corner kick, goal kick or throw-in,
  • a player in an offside position is to be punished,
  • a substitution is desired,
  • In the case of a penalty kick / penalty kick, the goalkeeper moves away from the goal line before the ball is kicked and the ball has completely crossed the goal line; if additional assistant referees have been called in, the assistant referee takes a position at the height of the penalty spot.

The assistant referees also help to control the substitution process.

The assistant referees are allowed to enter the field of play to control the distance of 9.15 m.

2. Fourth official

The fourth official also helps

  • to supervise the replacement process,
  • to control the equipment of a player or a substitute,
  • supervise when a player re-enters the field of play following the signal or with the permission of the referee,
  • to supervise the replacement balls,
  • indicate the minimum stoppage time that the referee wishes to have replayed at the end of a half (including overtime), and
  • to inform the referee about irresponsible behavior of a person in the technical area.

3. Additional assistant referees

The additional assistant referees can indicate

  • when the ball has completely crossed the goal line, including when a goal has been scored,
  • which team is entitled to a corner kick or goal kick,
  • if the goalkeeper moves away from the goal line for a penalty kick / penalty kick before the ball is kicked and the ball has completely crossed the goal line.

4. Replacement assistant referee

The task of the substitute assistant referees is limited to replacing an assistant referee or the fourth official in the event of indisposition.

5. Video Game Officials

A video assistant referee (VAR) is a match official who only calls the referee in the event of clear and obvious wrong decisions or serious overlooked incidents in connection with goals, penalties, direct red cards (not for second warnings) or player mix-ups (warning or expulsion for the wrong player of the team violating the rule) can support decision-making based on TV images.

The assistant to an assistant video referee (AVAR) is a match official who primarily assists the VAR by:

  • tracks the TV images when the VAR is video viewing or reviewing an incident,
  • VAR-related incidents as well as all communication and technical problems are documented,
  • supports the VAR in communicating with the referee, especially if the VAR is currently video viewing or reviewing an incident (e.g. informing the referee that the game is to be interrupted or the continuation of the game is to be delayed),
  • Track time lost due to video sightings and reviews,
  • Forwards information about a VAR decision to the relevant parties.

6. Signs from assistant referees

See rules booklet of the DFB

7. Signs of additional assistant referees

See rules booklet of the DFB

Additional explanations from the DFB

  1. The arena club has to put up the assistant referee flags.
  2. The assistant referees are helpers to the referee. Under no circumstances may the referee allow an assistant referee to intervene if he has seen the incident himself and can better judge it based on his position on the field of play. With this reservation, and provided that the assistant referee is neutral, the referee can take into account the assistant referee's report and, if this relates to the phase of the game immediately before a goal is scored, act on it and declare the goal invalid.
  3. Before the game, the referee and the assistant referee agree on the tasks and signaling of the assistant referees to ensure that the game runs smoothly!
  4. If the game is interrupted for a long time, the assistant referees should ensure that the ball is brought into play in the right place.
  5. The assistant referee should only enter the field of play
    1. to prevent a rule violation by the referee,
    2. if the referee is threatened,
    3. if the referee is injured,
    4. in the event of major tumults on the field and
    5. to establish the distance from the wall in its vicinity.
  6. One of the most important tasks of the assistant referees is to keep an eye on the room that is not playing.
  7. If no neutral assistant referees are nominated for a game, each of the clubs involved will provide an assistant referee. The tasks of these assistants are very limited. Usually they just indicate to the referee if the ball has crossed the sideline. The tasks are to be discussed before the game.

Note: The rule changes for the 2020/21 season are underlined.