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At the 79th minute of a tied, tense match, a blue player had been granted permission to leave the field of play to change a bloody jersey. Play continues, an errant red pass sends the ball toward touch on the referee's side of the field. Unbeknownst to the referee and out of his view, an altercation occurs (a red player has violently punched a blue player as he ran by just inside the red penalty area) spotted by the AR2 in his area of responsibility. AR2 then raises his flag!

The ball now just narrowly passes over the touchline, about 10 yards from the midline into the referee's area of control just moments after this punch occurred. AR1, on the substitution side, has raised a flag in the appropriate hand indicating blue possession for a throw in and gives it a wave rather than a 45 degree point . Since the ball had barely squeaked out of play, this flag is accepted by the referee indicating the ball was out . The referee signals to the blue player who had just finished changing his bloody jersey, still outside the field of play, who grabs the ball thinking to restart play immediately. The blue player correctly throws it back into play. The referee noticing the AR1 still has his flag raised tries to wave him down. The match continues briefly when the referee realizes the AR1 is pointing across the field to indicate AR2's flag is raised. What's the call. Your match, your decision, your reputation

Russell Montgomery
Red player red card. Restart as per current stoppage in-play (i.e. no Penalty awarded). Centre and AR1 given ‘pep talk’ on flag signals. Centre ref once aware of AR2 raised flag, has a quick look at immediate play and determines a whistle induced stoppage is required. Upon advise of AR2, red player is dismissed for VC. The earlier ball out of play created a stoppage in play, with subsequent throw-in restarting play, at which point the Centre then blows to stop play. As play had stopped and restarted the opportunity to award penalty is lost*. Play is restarted with a drop ball at point of stoppage (unless inside goal area etc etc). 79th minute is irrelevant. *Whenever the assistant referee signals for violent conduct and the signal is not seen immediately: • if play has been stopped for disciplinary action to be taken, the restart must be in accordance with the Laws (free kick, penalty kick, etc.) • if play has already restarted, the referee may still take disciplinary action but not penalise the offence with a free kick or penalty kick

Alan Siegel
Blow the whistle to stop play. Show a red card and send off the red player for Violent Conduct (Law 12). Restart with a dropped ball at the location where the ball was when play was stopped (subject to the special conditions of Law 8). The blue player with the bloody jersey is allowed to throw in the ball as long as he has been authorized to re-enter the field by the referee (or the referee's delegate). He is not required to enter the field first since he is just a player temporarily off the field, and not an entering substitute. The requirement to "pass inspection to confirm correction of the problem" (Advice to Referees 2013-14 3.6) is implied to have been accomplished by "the referee signals to the blue player". The referee is allowed to show the red card and send off the red player even though one or more restarts have occurred because "The assistant referee maintained the appropriate signal during the entire time between the players behavior and the referee becoming aware of the signal." (Advice to Referees 2013-14 5.17) Good scenario with lots of red herrings
Grant Current
There may be some question regarding the player changing his jersey, however he is not a substitute and so does not need to re-enter the field of play prior to taking the throw. Having received a signal from the referee, the throw-in is legal and play has restarted. Law 5 requires the referee to impose disciplinary sanctions prior to the restart. Due to referee miscommunication, the red player cannot be disciplined nor can a PK be awarded. Play on, and include both the misconduct and the error in the game report

To quote an old soccer aphorism: “The Laws of the Game were not written to compensate for the mistakes of players"
That said what if the Referee is the culprit?

This is an interesting situation because we try to throw a lot of spaghetti on the ceiling to see what sticks lol
To those of you who took the challenge to answer well done!

There are some tender sore spots even amongst the panel as to an reasonable answer versus a correct answer.

It should be noted in most recreational matches the officials are not afforded the luxuries of the communicative abilities those at the top levels possess to deal with unusual situations. If we examine the significant event of the World Cup final 2006 held in Germany between France and Italy when perhaps one of the greatest playmakers of modern times playing for France, Zinedine Zidane, after being subjected to the taunting of an opposing defender, lost his composure, in a brief moment of anger and deliberately, with force, head-butted the foul mouthed Italian in the chest, knocking him to the ground. It was in the middle of the Italian side of the field, the ball was in play on the French side of the field, it was clearly a violent act of a strike and a DFK incident! Up field the French were receiving a free kick courtesy off a foul by the Italians which WAS seen by the referee and play was subsequently restarted with a direct free kick. Our potty mouth defender was lying prone on the deck, still trying to catch his wind while no doubt gloating he just managed to get the BEST player from either team thrown out of the game ...IF... the officials had seen the incident!

This was the World Cup! The highest pinnacle of achievement and yet the delay in communicating this altercation was excruciatingly long, allowing for a DFK restart to the French team, for a tackling foul long before the referee was made aware of the first incident. In fact it was the fourth official not the ARs who actually reported on the incident. The EVENTAUAL stoppage was determined to be an injury stoppage and a drop ball restart occurred AFTER the sending off of Zinedine Zidane reducing France to 10 players.

The referee ALWAYs had authority to deal with misconduct OUT of his sight if his neutral officials could verify the incident particulars. What was of interest is FIFA created a new addition to the additional instructions precisely to deal with the CMI. (Critical Match Incident) There is no FREE KICK possible if a different restart occurs in the time period before the referee was informed of a previous incident.

One of the responders to our question used the terminology "lots of red herrings" which I think appropriately characterised the question's essence.

A key component was the convoluted discussions revolving around the legality of the initial throw in. Many an adamant referee answered convinced this throw in was not legal! Wanting this to be the REASON to being back the PK and red card send off !
As for the issue whether the equipment should have been checked before allowing re entry it must be clear to all the referee sees no blood on new jersey as he indicates to player he now has permission to rejoin play so player takes throw in, there is no procedural error here! A player is permitted to be off the field to take a throw in as part of the natural player movement. This is simplicity itself. The referee gave permission because he was satisfied ALL conditions were met! Sorry to disappoint but it is indeed legal. This is not like a substitution. The player is still a player and he can take a restart such as a throw in or a corner kick once given permission to re-enter without stepping over a boundary line. WHY? Because a player must be outside the FOP to do so! No mention of crossing a boundary line. Those that cling to their opinions it was not a legal restart, that the player MUST first re-enter the FOP then step back out. I can only say your match, your decision, your reputation.

Ordinarily, a referee can correct a mistake if a restart is illegal or awarded to the wrong team making the correction clearly fair. Yet the restart was NOT illegal nor was it to the wrong team. It was in part due the referee being indulgent to his own ego of fast forwarding play on his timescale, instead of taking a moment to be vigilant in maintaining eye contact with the AR in the first place. He was aware of his decision to restart play, knowing the fact the player taking the throw in was ok to do so, empowered with a sense of knowing more than most, likely patting himself on the back for being so -fluid-, in allowing play to proceed uninterrupted.

In order to “sell” a decision to recall, cancel, or retake any restart because the referee made a mistake, action must be taken quickly and it must be the referee’s own decision
How much time has passed before the mistake was realized given it took a discussion between the referee and the ARs to sort the matter out.
Possibly with so little time having elapsed there might be no controversy to decide to make the correction citing it was too significant a punishment for a team to suffer for the referee’s error.

Yet if I was the red team and a PK was taken instead of a drop ball restart and a goal resulted one could indeed protest claiming a legal restart had been authorized and according to the LOTG no free kick restart is permitted!

1st The blue player off the field with permission to change his bloody jersey. After suffering a nose bleed the referee indicated to the coach that the player was required to change. The player left the FOP and coach complied, the player changed into a new jersey.
Play continues
2nd The far AR witnesses VC by red player against blue player inside red penalty area IN BEHIND play raises/waves HIS flag but does not make contact with the referee YET! Blue player chooses not to retaliate seeing the flag is raised knowing the AR saw.
Play Continues
3rd The ball has run parallel to the opposing touchline and JUST sneaks clear out into touch by a slim margin.
4th The near AR is still inside the other half of the field looking up the touchline facing the referee has not seen opposing ARs flag concentrating on the ball clearing the FOP and raises the flag to indicate the ball is now out but not especially positive which team last touched the ball so gives the flag a shake
Play is STOPPED!
6th The referee CLEARLY indicates a blue throw in and has waved for the blue player who just changed his jersey to go ahead and get on with the throw in restart.
7th The near AR is now looking at the referee and sees the other AR across waving the flag
8th The blue newly changed jersey player has put the ball back into play with a quick throw in just as the AR starts waving the flag realizing something is wrong but unsure as to what is happening.
9th The referee thinking the reason the AR might be confused and is waving the flag is because he allowed the blue player off the field to take the quick throw initially tries to wave the flag off
10th The AR is now pointing across at the other AR when the CR finally blows the whistle to stop play and find out what is amiss.

We often say ARs should assist not insist, but what about the mandate do not let the CR appear a fool? We can chastise the lack of eye contact, no shoulder check, or fuzzy flag signals but is not the reality of a near simultaneous set of restart criteria the flag indicated the first. The throw in noted second but the referee allowed the 2nd restart as the first incident was not yet known by the referee. Houston we now have a problem! The by the book correction. Stop play drop ball where ball is located subject to the special circumstances within the goal area after showing red card to red player for VC reducing red team by a player

In this incident the referee awarded a PK showed a red card to the red defender for VC! The reasoning the referee provided was the throw in restart was an incorrect restart for what the AR had signalled for. It was a stretch of the truth but it did satisfy the grumblings pitch side. For those who wanted to do this as what is FAIR you must acknowledge the throw in was correct as it was YOUR decision to permit it NOT the ARs but fib a bit to say the restart was not the one the AR signalled because the flag was up ahead of the throw-in just misunderstood The answer was yes this referee was smug, initially embarrassed ,sufficiently humbled, greatly troubled as he bit the bullet and felt the PK/send off show the red card reducing the red team to 10 players as the only fair outcome. No, the match was not protested. Luckily for him sigh!

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