This blog is proudly created By Keith Hackett for Keys to Referee

Sir Stanley Rous who became the sixth President of FIFA made a major contribution to football by rewriting the Laws of the game in1938, making them simpler and easier to understand. He was also the first to employ the diagonal system of control for referees as a standard practice.

The diagonal system of control is the system of positioning used by match officials (referees and assistant referees) in association football (soccer). This allows the referee to officiate in a fluid motion without needing to turn his back to the play, stop, and then turn around sharply.

Mathematically, this system provides the best way available to cover the pitch so that the right decisions can be easily taken by the referees.

The two assistant referees move along their half of the field of play on the right-hand touchline, located diagonally opposite to each other, while the referee covers all the pitch, moving diagonally from one part to the other uncovered by the assistant’s part of the field. This allows the referee to officiate in a fluid motion without needing to turn his back to the play, stop, and then turn around sharply.

In my career we had the choice of which diagonal we ran and often I would have my linesmen (assistant referees) running outside lefts.

The referees patrol path in my early refereeing career was corner flag to corner flag with the constant advice from assessors ringing in my ear that I needed to run wide and deep, several times in the game I would find myself approximately 10 yards from the flag.

Keith Hackett
Keith Hackett

Keith Hackett is a proud Sheffield Man, Ex FIFA Referee, Former Head of the PGMOL, Author, FA Cup Referee and a Gentleman who knows the laws of the beautiful game in side and out. He is counted amongst the top 100 referees of all time.

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