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The Laws of Soccer 101: The 4th Official

If you thought the Asst. Refs were largely expendable, then you definitely won’t find the 4th Official necessary. FIFA would agree with you too as it states a 4th official is only to be employed when specifically called for by competition rules. So, in the big tourneys like the World Cup, we have a 4th official, who I think of as the head ref’s bitch. 

His duties are mostly administrative (unless another ref is assassinated), and he generally has little to do and the best seat in the house. Well, maybe not “little to do”. He does have some important responsibilities. Here is your last Pop Quiz Question before the upcoming Final Exam. Which of the following is a duty of the Fourth Official?

A. Officiating if any Assistant Ref cannot continue;

B. Noting substitutions and compiling the misconduct report;

C. “Supervising the replacement balls”;

D. All of the Above.

It’s (D) folks, as in “Dear God thank you for making this the last time he presents us with an inane quiz question with the same answer, All of the Above.” I must admit though, I find (C) inappropriately hilarious (if it involves “balls”, chances are I am good for at least a giggle). Oh, and the Fourth Official also “provides another ball” at the referee’s instruction.   

Talk about sacrifice. Speaking of sacrifice, have all my students been partying all semester and could it be they are all now in trouble of failing as the Final Exam approaches? I certainly hope not. While you have all gotten 100% thus far on the Pop Quizzes, I forgot to mention on the first day that they are weighted only 1% of your overall score. Yeah…

You should have read the whole syllabus. Anywho, I’ll see you all back here (same time, same place) for our Final Exam soon. Bring your bluebooks, your #2 pencils and anything else that you think will bring you luck. None of those troll dolls are permitted though. Those little fiendish elfs freak me the hell out. Seriously. Class dismissed.