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You Call It Feb 2017 Q&A


Blue 17 fouls red 12 at 65 minutes inside the blue penalty area. The referee stops play to show a yellow card to blue 17, and restart with a PK. Blue 17 fell awkwardly and is in apparent distress. Apparently injured blue 17 is substituted with blue #9 with permission of the referee
Before the Pk commences the near AR signals over to the referee, the we need to talk signal. The referee is shocked to learn that 17 blue was in fact the keeper #1 earlier in the first half and already on a yellow card for dissent. There was a jersey switch at the half in which the referee was informed of a keeper to be exchanged but not that the keeper #1 was now #17. The new keeper was a substitute keeper and the former #17 player was injured and thus gave up his jersey prior to the second half restarting. Your match, your decision, your reputation!

This is, as noted by some, relatively straight forward and did in fact occur in a unlimited substitute youth match. The quick answer is show the red card to the player for recieving two yellow cards previously and ensure that team plays a man down.

However, we need to clear up a few misconceptions...

Proper booking procedures are important because they provide a way out of these messes BEFORE we fall into them. There is a reason we need to follow these guidelines precisely because the room for error at the unlimited sub stage is far more likely then the FIFA elite level.

We book a player by CAUTIONING or SENDING OFF and then show the yellow or/and red card. When we isolate the culprit, ensure our safety, communicate with the ARs as we ask the name and number of the player as we look at him and he says "John Baker 17 blue" the John Baker #1 written in our ledger at the first half should catch our attention.

Hey your name is the same as the keeper in the first half that I cautioned for dissent.? Amazing you look like him too. You are that same guy! Well this is a caution for a reckless tackle, show a yellow card and this is a send off for receiving your second caution in the match, show a red card.

As he was an injured player after this tackle we are likely distracted by the need for the medical intervention but we still need to ask the pertinent questions and remain focused.

Waving cards over a player lying on the ground is not the coolest thing, we might wait until he can sit or stand up but we MUST ensure we record ALL the correct information and perform all required actions.

When we lose focus or distracted, when we only write a number, when we do not say to our AR, "I just wrote so and so # blank in the book as a caution for dissent. Later these lack of details comes over to bite us on our collective butts!

There is no actual illegal substitution here. The referee followed the procedure accordingly as per unlimited opportunity at a stoppage. No cautions for illegal substitution are considered here, this is a REFEREE ERROR based on insufficient knowledge and preparation!

The keeper exchange was in accordance with what the laws require. The referee was informed at the half . No numbers or names only that a different keeper would be between the pipes at the start of the half.

The referee restarted the match at the second half thus recognizing all 11 players from each team on the pitch as legitimate players.
Nothing in law requires numbers on jerseys, that said competition bylaws will have stipulations where the ID on the roster should match up with the jersey and player in it.

Teams that might not have sufficient jerseys at lower play levels is not uncommon so a jersey exchange or duplicate numbers etc. is certainly a normal problem to overcome.

Lets give the AR two thumbs up here for saving our collective referee butt! The fact is one player (playing as keeper and later as an out player) has received two cautions in the same match while competing as a PLAYER. The information overload occurs at a PK stoppage in favor of their opponents so no worries, the PK will take place. The former keeper despite the jersey switch remains as much a player out as he was in net and is held accountable as a player NOT a substitute.

The only possible result is this twice cautioned player is sent off from the match, shown the red card and his team MUST play a man down. The NEED to caution for the jersey switches for the two #17 players is in our opinion not a necessity. This incident had an injured player in the first half give up his jersey to the former keeper as no other jersey was available. Hardly a huge crime in unlimited substitution matches but as the second caution showed; reason such things should be kept track of.

The former blue keeper, still present at the touchline, is to be shown a red card and informed as to why this has occurred and that he can no longer take part in the rest of this match.
His team must play a man down, one of the ten remaining players must leave the field of play. Many suggested it MUST be #9 but if the subs are unlimited for what reason? The substitution was made in good faith, OK so we must correct the imbalance of players but does the law specifically require #9 to come out? Remember the referee awarded him permission to enter, could not the referee simply grant permission for any player to exit? We see no reason to target out only #9 as 10 versus 11 men is what we want at the pk taking. If the subs were limited then this becomes problematic and likely the switch was kept track of in unlimited subs we often have no idea as to what number is on the back of the jersey, just remember #9 blue did nothing wrong.

Whether one is of the opionion it was an attempt to get around anything we find little value in thinking it MUST be USB!.While the incident should be recorded and reported, to sanction a coach as unethical here is in our opinion a HUGE stretch but as it is your match, your decision, your reputation not totally out of the realm of possibility.

Now to the whole point of this question -- how do we prevent this kind of thing from happening to us on a match? First is rereading Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, specifically that section dealing with disciplinary sanctions. What we find there is statements in both cautionable and sending-off offences the player is disciplined, cautioned or sent-off and then shown the card. What is the significance of this information?

When discipline is administered we must speak with the player, inform him what was incorrect or unwise in his play and do something else... Yup write something in our book for the match report. What is written? Hmmm... First we need to know at what time this happened, what happened, what was done about what happened and who did it. The who has a name and that name can't be changed, it appears on the roster and on the player's credentials. It is the only thing that really identifies him to you because his number may be changed because of blood on the uniform, a torn jersey or the need to change from one jersey to another. In rare circumstances there is the need to use the colored card like a fire hose -- to put out a fire before it gets out of control. What usually happens is the referee rushes in waving the card about then he writes while all players stand around watching or arguing about the discipline given. What should happen is the referee approaches the player and separates him from the rest of the players. The referee tries to have his back to a touchline so most players are in front of him. At this point the card is still undercover. We do the talking and write at the same time so all the information is in our little book then we show the appropriate card, in the case of a caution, and whistle for play to restart. If the discipline is a sending-off we must wait for the player to leave the field and its confines or, if a youth match, be under the control of a responsible adult. If a method such as this is followed it is unlikely we'll fail to notice a name written twice in our book. Of course there are players with integrity insufficient to be truthful about their name. In that case we'll need an assistant to bail us out and get things correct. Of course we'll mention the name change in our sending-off report so the disciplinary committee can come to an appropriate decision regarding the length of any ban.

Ben Wiles Chandler IN USA Referee

The good news is that nothing has happened yet, so whatever needs to be fixed can be. A player receives his second yellow. He is sent off, and blue plays down. It doesn't matter who Blue removes, but if the sub stays on that counts toward their substitution limit for that match. If he leaves, he can be subbed in later for another player. And the AR doesn't pay for his post-match beverage.

J Andrew Lipscomb Chattanooga TN Soccer Fan
Since the match has not restarted, you still have the opportunity to change your decision under the last sentence of Law 5. Blue 17 is now sent off for a second cautionable offense. Since the substitution is now nonsense, #9 either leaves the field, or stays on as a sub for someone else. Resume play with the already-awarded PK. Granted, you may be letting blue off easy for trying to trick you with the number switch. However, this is properly covered in the match report in which you give all the details of what happened. Note also that player numbers are not mentioned in the Laws at all, although competition rules may say something about them.

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