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Question Number: 24940

Other 5/14/2011

RE: Competitive Adult

Rob Tonge of Chengdu, Sichuan China asks...

Dear Ref,

Apologies if this sounds more like a rant than a question! Please read on though, the question is coming... I haven't heard our league's decision on this matter, but I'd love to get a neutral view first!
My team, Wuhou Wanderers, plays in the highest level of amateur football in China. Our aim this year is to finish in the top two in our league and so qualify for next year's national FA Cup competition.
I feel we often get bad calls from the ref cause we're an ex-pat team playing against Chinese teams, but today took the biscuit. We were already up against it, playing against the team at the top of the league, who were fielding 5 former international players. But in the second half, they brought on their 6th substitute (above the permitted 5 in our competition). I queried the decision to allow him on, and after umming and ahing, the fourth official said 'Aren't seven allowed?'. I explained the rule permitting only 5 subs, as discussed during an official FA meeting prior to the season. He said OK, and double-checked the squad list of the opposition. 'I see' he said, 'They've actually only changed 5'.
'Hmm, OK, I guess that's fine then' I said, before asking, 'So why did their coach tell you this is their sixth sub? Maybe we should check how many of their starting XI are still on the field.'
So we went through the list together and found that indeed they had changed six players. No action was taken.

So I guess my question would be, what course of action should be taken? Obviously, the opposition gained quite an advantage making six changes, especially on a hot day like today.

Thanks for your consideration of this question, I appreciate your reply!

Best regards,

Rob Tonge

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rob
Poor work here by the officials. One of the fundamentals of the game is to ensure the proper rules are abided by. So if it 5 subs from 7 that is it.
In this case the decision to allow 6 substitutes is a protestable decision and the League could order a replay based on the result.
As the 6th substitution was allowed and play had continued for a period the referee IMO could not take any action and he had no choice but to allow play to continue and report the matter to the relevant authorities.
I was acting as senior AR recently in a game and it was 3 subs from 7. The team made a sub early in the 1st half for an injury. Late in the second half they made two more. I then noticed a 4th warming up and when I got close to the coach I said what is happening here. He had forgot all about the 1st sub and he had to apologise to the sub to tell him to sit back down in the TA. Had we the ref crew erred in allowing the sub to play the result could have been protested particularly when the team that made the sub was winning and eventually won the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

It was a grave error in the application of the laws for the referee to permit a team to make more than the correct number of substitutions. The fourth official and referee at this level should know the substitution limits in the rules of competition, and keep track of all substitutions.

The fourth official should have alerted immediately the referee that there was a problem once he confirmed that this indeed was the sixth substitution in a match that only allowed five. Had he done so, play might not have yet restarted, the correct player returned to the field, and a protest avoided.

The rules of competition should address protests - - when they must be made and how. Most protest rules give discretion to a protest committee to decide them. A common result is for the match to be replayed, but the committee may choose another path. Please let us know what happens.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Of course none of us have any idea what WILL happen but this is a gross error by the referee crew and never should have happened. It is a clear misapplication of the Laws and the competition authorities should allow a protest on those grounds. In my opinion, this is a no brainer and the game has to be replayed in it's entirety but one never knows.

Please let us know the outcome

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