The best position is one from which the referee can make the correct decision. All recommendations about positioning must be adjusted using specific information about the teams, the players and events in the match.

The positions recommended in the graphics are basic guidelines. The reference to a “zone” emphasises that a recommended position is an area within which the referee is likely to be most effective. The zone may be larger, smaller or differently shaped depending on the exact match circumstances.


  • The play should be between the referee and the lead AR

  • The lead AR should be in the referee’s field of vision so the referee should usually use a wide diagonal system

  • Staying towards the outside of the play makes it easier to keep play and the lead AR in the referee’s field of vision

  • The referee should be close enough to see play without interfering with play

  • “What needs to be seen” is not always in the vicinity of the ball. The referee should also pay attention to:

    • player confrontations off the ball

    • possible offences in the area towards which play is moving

    • offences occurring after the ball is played away


Positioning of assistant referees and additional assistant referees

The AR must be in line with the second-last defender or the ball if it is nearer to the goal line than the second-last defender. The AR must always face the field of play, even when running. Side-to-side movement should be used for short distances. This is especially important when judging offside as it gives the AR a better line of vision.

The AAR position is behind the goal line except where it is necessary to move onto the goal line to judge a goal/no goal situation. The AAR is not allowed to enter the field of play unless there are exceptional circumstances.