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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32697

Law 3 - The Players 9/10/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32683

Our grassroots season has just ended here in Sydney, and I had a situation like this in a Grand Final.

Team Blue asked for a substitution on one of their throw In's that happened to be in front of their bench.

Blue 5 leaves the FOP, Blue 12 is their incoming sub, and picks up the ball to take the TI.

I stopped him, asked him to step onto the FOP before taking the TI.

Technically, I'm not sure if I should do that or not, but in the spirit of the LOTG and the game itself, I have done this numerous times over the past few years (since this site made me aware of the requirement " thank you).

The players have always appreciated having it pointed out to them.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,

What you did is 100% correct. I expect all referees to do the same thing you did.

The substitution is completed when the substitute steps onto the field, after the player has left and in accordance with the law. Stepping on the line is sufficient.

Some referees have stopped subs from taking a throw-in because they think they're still a sub until play has restarted. That's incorrect. As soon as they stop on they're a player - and that means they can take the restart.

But without stepping on, they're not a player - and cannot take the restart.

And I stress, this is not pointless pedantry. You don't have to look too far to find stories of substitutes who have committed a red card offence before coming on the field, after a player has left. We had one who punched a spectator in my old area!

If this happens and they haven't stepped on the line, then the team still plays with 11 (in fact, the player who left can even return). If the sub has stepped onto the line and thus completed the substitution, then the team is a player down.

So, it's unlikely for anything to occur, but if anything happens it's a significant, match-changing incident. And what you don't want is to know that you've exacerbated the problem by not following procedure.

The players won't know this - in fact, they may think you're being over officious. So I always take a really pleasant approach and really try not to sound officious: A smile and 'Just step onto the line first for me, will you? Thanks, now you're on the field, now you can take the throw'.

It's important to maintain this process even in games with unlimited interchange.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
For the substitute to become a player he must step on to the field of play and that should not happen until the player has left the FOap. . So you were 100% correct.
Now depending on the circumstances we can manage this in such a way that we know who is leaving and who is entering to become a player. The process is to determine that so that there cannot be any confusion or a team saying that the player has already left or that the substitute is not a player particularly if there is a sending off incident.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Good on you mate, you are spot on in reminding them and not creating a unwieldy situation where a quick release of the ball out pops a goal and then you go oh wait a minute that throw in does not count lol
Substitutions procedures are set up to avoid conflicts to identify who is responsible for what & when!

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