After another successful season in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, additional assistant referees will continue their work at the forthcoming European Championship in Poland and Ukraine as well. Howard Webb and Jonas Eriksson spoke about this experiment to UEFA.com.
Positioned at the bylines, they support the main referee with judgments on incidents in the box, e.g. infringements like fouls or handball offenses or on the question of whether the ball potentially crossed the line.
|Referee, Assistant Referees and Additional Assistant Referees (c) ZIMBIO|
Prepared with the experience of more than a dozen of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches having worked along with these “added eyes”, Howard Webb clearly emphasizes the benefit of this aid for the rest of the team. “When I go to these games with these additional assistant referees, I am going to the game with two experienced, usually FIFA listed officials on my side. They are giving me judgment on important situations in and around the penalty area, from angles I could never hope to get as a match official, as a referee on the field of play.[…] One of the most telling camera angles is the one behind the goals, the one which shows the way the play develops towards the goal, and that is a position we can never ever get normally. These guys are going out to these games and are giving me that view.”
Furthermore, the 2010 UEFA Champions League final and 2010 FIFA World Cup final referee unveils insights in how a referee team consisting of six officials challenged an upcoming match. “We can now spread the responsibilities, so we are looking at two things at once. We are speaking all the time on […] our communication system to do this, to say >Ok, you watch this and I watch that<, to talk about situations developing behind my back, if you see two players becoming argumentative, you can say >Be careful, turn around<, so the benefits are really endless for me."
Moreover, the avail of this IFAB authorized, perpetual experiment to solve, above all, the problem the referees are confronted with, which is being whether the ball crossed the line at full volume, is bolstered by the statements of EURO referee Jonas Eriksson of Sweden. Having refereed six UEFA Champions League matches in the last season, the Swedish confirms that “his experience from over ten matches, when [there were] six referees, is really positive”. In addition, “the players are aware that there are referees in the respective penalty areas, who can assist and influence the match, as they are deterred ensuring that the players do not commit any foolishness they would have otherwise done”, Eriksson states.
With the aid of the “17th team” including the additional assistant referees, UEFA can pose their part to provide a brilliant and exciting EURO tournament starting in two weeks.