Soccer Referee Signals are used by the Center Referee or the Sideline Referee to communicate what is going on in the game to everyone else on and off the field. Official soccer match requires 1 Center/Main Referee, and 2 Sideline Assistant Referees located on each half of the field. Referee signals and information covered here will open your eyes as to how hard it is to referee a soccer game.
In this article, I will describe 23 football referee signals and provide images to illustrate them. Read on to learn how referees communicate with players, assistant referees, and other soccer match officials.
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To understand soccer referee signals, start by looking at the on-field referee. If their hands are pointing to a team's goal after a foul, they're signaling an advantage, and if they blow the whistle and point away from a team's goal, they're signaling that the attacking team has a free kick.
To signal a direct free kick, or DFK, a referee will blow his whistle and point with a raised arm in the direction of the goal that the team who has been awarded the free kick is attacking. A DFK is awarded when one of the players commits one of the ten penal fouls against an opponent. A goal may be scored from a DFK. Watch for indirect free kicks. If after signaling for a free kick the referee keeps his hand above his head then he is signaling for an indirect free kick, or IFK.
(Assistant referee should indicate he/she has seen an offside with the right arm.) Foul (1 . Hold the flag vertically until acknowledged by the referee; 2. Wave flag 3. Point the flag in the direction where the free kick will take place.) Offside free kick (When the referee stops play, the assistant referee indicates position on the far side
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Once the center referee notices, the AR makes quick, small waves with the flag and then goes to stand in front of the corner flag on the goal line to indicate a penalty kick. Substitution Assistant Referee signals to the referee by holding his flag overhead with both hands
To make a signal for a direct free kick, a referee raises an arm diagonally upwards before pointing with his other hand to the direction of the offending player’s goal. A direct free kick is a signal for serious offenses—a goal can be scored directly from it.
US Soccer-produced video on referee signal technique