The soccer referee’s role as a fourth official has a number of duties assigned by the Laws of the Game, along with tradition. The fourth official serves as an additional observer and participates with the referee crew.
Their duties require them to have a clear view of the following:
- the field of play,
- the referee,
- both assistant referees,
- the benches,
- team officials,
- various other person allowed in the area of the field who are associated with facility management, security, and communications.
Most federations have guidelines that specify that fourth officials are to remain standing at all times. This maintains good lines of sight and keeps the official attentive in order to act quickly to intervene in matters for which they are responsible.
In a January 2, 2012 Position Paper memo from the United States Soccer Federation, they stated:
“A fourth official may not be seated at any time during a match unless this is clearly required by a competition authority’s written rule or clearly mandated by a competition authority’s director of officials. The availability of a chair does not establish such an exception.”
Do you sit or stand as a fourth official? Let us know in the comments!