World Cup assistant referees will keep flags down for tight offside calls, says Pierluigi Collina

World Cup assistant referees have been instructed to keep their flag down for tight offside calls in Russia, according to FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina.

Collina says linesmen have been told to keep their flags down in order to enable the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to make the correct decision.

VAR will be used for the first time at the World Cup in this summer’s tournament in Russia.

“If you see some assistant referee not raising the flag, it’s not because he’s making mistakes,” said Collina, at the World Cup referees media day on Tuesday.

“It’s because he’s respected the instruction to keep the flag down.

“They were told to keep the flag down when there is a tight offside incident and there could be a very promising attack or a goal-scoring opportunity because, if the assistant referee raises the flag, then everything is finished.

“If the assistant referee keeps the flag down and the play goes on and maybe a goal comes at the end, there is a chance to review the goal using the technology.”

Collina also confirmed the video assistant referees will wear a full kit, identical to their colleagues on the pitch, at the World Cup.

“It’s because they sweat like they do on the pitch,” said Collina, who refereed the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany.

“It’s not like watching a game on the couch while drinking coffee. It’s very stressful so they can’t be dressed like a clerk.”