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Question Number: 32683

Law 3 - The Players 9/3/2018

RE: Competitive Adult

Kim Rasmussen of Tung Chung, Lantau Hong Kong asks...

Can a player coming onto the pitch take a penalty, a free kick or even a throw in when there has been no stoppage in play between the infringement and the player coming on?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kim
Play has to be stopped for a substitution to take place. Once a substitute enters the field of play by stepping over the touchline he becomes a player and he is free to take any restart.
The only time this may be questioned is where the substitute moves down the touchline before entering the field of play first. The step on to the field of play is the defining moment between being a substitute and becoming a player. Technically the sub should step over the line first before taking the throw.
Minor point yet it can eliminate any dispute about playing short should a player or a substitute get a red card during the substitution procedure.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Kim,

I've seen some referees refuse to allow a substitute to take a restart, but those that do so are wrong. The moment the sub enters the field of play, in accordance with the law, they're a player. So for, say, a corner kick or a throw, the sub will need to step onto the field first. But they can definitely take the throw or kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kim,
If there has been no stoppage, there cannot be a substitution but if there's been an offence leading to a restart there has to have been a stoppage so the scenario you describe can't really happen.

So assuming there actually has been a stoppage (as there must have been) and the substitute has entered the field of play as per the required procedure then yes, that substitute can then take the restart, whatever it is.

The restart that can be slightly problematic is the throw-in, as sometimes a sub will try to go to take a throw-in without having entered the field of play first, which cannot be allowed. However if the substitute steps onto the field of play first so that the substitution is properly completed, they can then go and take the throw-in. Like ref Wright, I have seen referees refuse to allow a player who had just come on as a substitute to take a throw-in but there is no reason for this, assuming the substitution has been completed as per the correct procedure.

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