Stuart Marsh raised one of two talking points at the November open meeting and related it specifically to the local Sunday League. However, it could be put into practise in any match in which club assistants are required.
Stuart cited the root cause of his consideration being that club assistants might not be, in fairness, the most reliable of assistants.
In whichever way any one official addresses club assistants before a match, whether they actively encourage their best efforts and complete honesty, or simply tell them to flag for offside and ball out of play then let them get on with it (the latter should be discouraged), it is likely that some decisions will not be credible.
Furthermore, regardless of how well a club assistant may be performing, it is unfortunately likely that the opposition will pester the Referee with comments about the opposition’s assistant making poor decisions or not keeping up with play.Note: If the word “cheat” ever gets used, any Referee should seriously think about the cards that can be issued.
Stuart’s proposal was simple; instruct club assistants to run their right wings, rather than left backs. The idea certainly sparked a few murmurs in the room, but the concept does have benefits when considered.
If as a defending team you know that your line is being watched by the opposition’s assistant, you would suspect that an attacker collecting/challenging for the ball from an offside position will not be flagged as offside. As such the shrewd defence will knowingly remain goal side of the opposition rather than trying to play the trap; this could negate many offside arguments.
The idea is certainly unorthodox, but if you are willing to try it out, please do comment and let us know how you got on.