Why was linesman changed to assistant referee?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by vinDeezul, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. vinDeezul

    vinDeezul New Member

    Jun 30, 2017
    Somewhere along the timeline for law-change, linesmen became assistant referees.

    What were the reasons or justifications for this change?

    I am looking for historical reference(s), and am posting here for guidance to where is/are some of the definitive places to find this information. Please help. The Ifab website has just a short blurb in the history section about linesmen indicate, not decide when ball is out of play.
    ilyazhito repped this.
  2. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    I'm not sure if the reasoning was set forth by IFAB, or if it came from others. My understanding is there were 2 primary reasons:
    1. It makes a non-gender-specific term for the position
    2. And more importantly, it indicates that the powers and responsibilities of the position have evolved, that the person is actually assisting the referee more.
    Someone else will have to chime in, but did the change in the term come about as part of the Great Rewrite in the 90's (1996?)
    Kit and ManiacalClown repped this.
  3. vinDeezul

    vinDeezul New Member

    Jun 30, 2017
    That revision was '97.

    The two reasons you provided pop up in numerous other places, however, the original reference is lacking. This is why I opened a thred in the forum.
  4. Cliveworshipper

    Cliveworshipper Member+

    Dec 3, 2006
    Linesmen didn’t traditionally call fouls.
    Ow they can waggle the flag and call one. He ref, of course, an overule.
    The. And.change reflected that.

    ‘92 or 93, I think.
  5. Kit

    Kit Member+

    Aug 30, 1999
    Herkimer, NY, USA
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    IASocFan repped this.
  6. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member+

    Mar 23, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I still have my “Linesman” badge from back in 2001.

    I’m old... :(
  7. Kit

    Kit Member+

    Aug 30, 1999
    Herkimer, NY, USA
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They must have been phasing it out at that point. I took my first USSF class in 2000 and the position was called "assistant referees" then.
  8. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #8 MassachusettsRef, Jan 24, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
    Short of reading the IFAB minutes from then, I don't think you're going to find anything "official." @Gary V has the right answers, though. It was a combination of those two. Publicly, FIFA/IFAB stressed either the growing duties (or the reality that "linesmen" always had more duties and referees and certain national associations needed to get with the program) more than the gender thing. But given the timing of the 1995 WWC and the increased (but not exclusive) use of female officials there, it was definitely also a component of it.

    The timing thing is an interesting question. Somewhere between WC90 and 94, FIFA adopted a "Linesman" badge. I believe it was 1993, but could have been 1992. Prior to that, all FIFA officials who qualified as such got a "FIFA Badge" and there was no distinction between the two duties in name (even if, in practice, a select few specialized... that was not common). Anyway, that led to the need for a "Lineswoman" badge in 1995 (see attached). I can't remember if 1996 still had these badges or if "Assistant Referee" badges came then or 1997. My memory on all this stuff is +/- one year, as you can tell.

    Attached Files:

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  9. voiceoflg

    voiceoflg Member+

    Dec 8, 2005
    That's not old. 2001 is only 19 years ago.

    Wait...2001 is 19 years ago??? Holy expletive!!
  10. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    I agree with MassachusettsRef. I don't think the gender thing was as important as an evolution in the expectations of what the people with the flags would do. I know that particularly in England, linesmen were definitely considered lower class citizens, barely worthy of getting into the game for free. (Note that, historically, there were linesmen before there were referees!) There were definitely referees, Americans and otherwise, who did not want mere linesmen to flag for fouls. That was solely the job of the referee!

    I'm not sure, but I think it was only a year or two later that FIFA decided that there should be FIFA Referees and FIFA Assistant Referees, and n'er the twain shall cross. I remember doing an adult tournament game with Thomas Bobadilla around this time. He had a FIFA AR badge so when he had the center for the second game, he had to switch to a National Referee badge. It wasn't much later that those with FIFA badges were told that they were not to do AR assignments if they were FIFA Referees, or centers if they were FIFA AR's.

    About the same time, but, if memory serves, just a little later, 4th officials were given more responsibilities than just holding the spare game balls and waiting for the referee to get hurt. No change in title, though.
    frankieboylampard repped this.
  11. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member+

    Mar 23, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As I recall there were actually two separate grades at the time. “Linesman” was grade 10. “Assistant Referee” was grade 12 and was if memory serves primarily for adult matches. I’ll see if I can fine my admin book from back then.
  12. Dayton Ref

    Dayton Ref Member+

    May 3, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Chicago Fire
    That's fine. I don't really want to be called "Bench Babysitter Referee"
    voiceoflg repped this.
  13. SCV-Ref

    SCV-Ref Member

    Feb 22, 2018
    I've attached some excerpts from IFAB 94 minutes (Clarifying gender)
    IFAB 96 Minutes using both terms.
    IFAB 96 Agenda showing intention to change.
    For what it's worth...an interesting read. Gender.jpg 96 Both.jpg AR.jpg
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  14. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    Probably the worst situation I ever had to deal with as a 4th official was two pro coaches yelling at each other about how badly behaved one of the players was. Tough day at the office.
    frankieboylampard repped this.
  15. vinDeezul

    vinDeezul New Member

    Jun 30, 2017
    Please try and not change thread topic too much. It is already hard reading through discussions. I thank you for this consideration.
  16. djmtxref

    djmtxref Member

    Apr 8, 2013
    Just be happy no one has found a way to bring socks into the discussion.
    Geko, roby and voiceoflg repped this.
  17. appwrangler

    appwrangler Member

    United States
    Dec 18, 2018
    Puritanical Americans have to make everything about socks.
    Geko repped this.
  18. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

    May 27, 2004
    i see you are new around these parts.
    frankieboylampard, Geko, jayhonk and 3 others repped this.
  19. GoDawgsGo

    GoDawgsGo Member+

    Nov 11, 2010
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Geko, jayhonk, Rufusabc and 1 other person repped this.
  20. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Mar 2, 2012
    Yep, Atlanta
    Atlanta United FC
    roby and Geko repped this.
  21. JeffG

    JeffG Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    MN, USA
    Don't get me started....
    roby and Geko repped this.
  22. GearRef

    GearRef Member

    Manchester City
    United States
    Jan 2, 2018
    La Grange Park, Illinois
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Do my crew’s sleeve-lengths have to match?
    RefIADad and frankieboylampard repped this.
  23. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

    May 30, 2009
    If your sock lengths don't match, then the sleeve lengths must!
    Kit, voiceoflg, roby and 2 others repped this.
  24. voiceoflg

    voiceoflg Member+

    Dec 8, 2005
    I just noticed OSI doesn't have the three-stripe socks with different colors anymore. What's up with that?

    Whoops. Hijacked the thread. Never mind. Carry on.
    RefIADad repped this.
  25. El Rayo Californiano

    Feb 3, 2014
    As an online soccer officials discussion grows longer, the probability of a mention of socks or sleeve length approaches 1.

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