Dallas: “You are not linesmen anymore; those days are over”

Assistant referees have gone home from the UEFA winter course in Cyprus with a wealth of advice and have been left in no doubt about the growing importance of their role in the game.
Europe's top assistant referees have been encouraged to keep up the high standards shown at their winter training course in Cyprus when they return to action in UEFA's major competitions this month – with a number of them anticipating the challenge of being part of UEFA Euro 2016. More than 50 assistants were provided with expert coaching in the various facets of their crucial job over three days on the Mediterranean island. "We want you to have a consistent approach in applying the Laws of the Game and meet the high standards that UEFA expects of you in our top competitions," they were told by UEFA refereeing officer Hugh Dallas. Offside – a core element of an assistant's job – teamwork and effective communication with their colleagues, awareness of the game, mental toughness, maintaining top physical condition, concentration and focus were among the central points of the practical and theoretical training.
Former FIFA World Cup final assistant referees Leif Lindberg and Philip Sharp, together with experienced colleagues Giovanni Stevanato and Maciej Wierzbowski, provided specialist input. "It's not only a privilege to have you here in Cyprus," Dallas explained, "but it's also a privilege for you to receive such expert analysis and advice from your former colleagues." In addition, Dallas's UEFA referee officer colleague Marc Batta and physical fitness experts Werner Helsen and Koen Put joined UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina in forming a tried and trusted expert team for the assistants' winter course. Dallas urged the assistants to think like referees, saying. "You are not a linesman anymore – those days are over. You are now assisting the referee in making accurate decisions, in particular on incidents that happen within your area of responsibility. Be ready to offer assistance to the rest of the referee team and remain calm, confident and composed in doing so." The assistants have been told to streamline communication with their fellow match officials in order to facilitate accurate decision-making. "Take time and make sure you are clear," said Dallas. "It's not a conversation. Communication should be short, sharp and accurate, with discussions kept to a minimum as per UEFA's clear guidelines."An awareness of game situations is considered key. "Pay attention to changes in a match, such as when a substitution is made and when a goal is scored," instructed Dallas. "The tempo in a match might increase, tactics might suddenly change – and these are changes that can affect you, so you must remain focused and concentrated".
The full referee teams for UEFA Euro 2016 will be chosen at the end of February, with two assistant referees being assigned to each of the 18 referees along with two additional assistant referees, whose task will be to assist the referee in judging incidents in and around the penalty area. Dallas said the qualities shown in Cyprus augured well for future assignments. "I haven't ever seen a group of assistant referees that were so fit and full of desire, and I congratulate you," he concluded. "This was something that was clearly evident during the various physical activities on the training field."

Source: UEFA