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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33615

Law 3 - The Players 9/2/2019

RE: Adult

Malcolm Chilton of Twickenham, United Kingdom asks...

The new 'law' which staes a player leaving the field via the nearest touchline when substituted seems to be totally ignored by players and Refs. Why?

Many thanks

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Malcolm,
As my colleagues have pointed out, it is not being totally ignored - I have also seen it being used quite widely. On the other hand, I have seen a number of games where the cameras have zoomed in on the player leaving the field such that it was not possible to say which touchline they were closer to when starting to leave the field but the length of time they took suggested that had not gone to the nearest one. I think the players are mostly not used to this law change yet and the idea of leaving where their replacement is coming on is so ingrained that they're having trouble adjusting. When this happens, I have the impression that sometimes the referees don't notice (they're more focused on communicating with the fourth official perhaps) until the player is already past the 'point of no return' where it would actually take longer to send them back than to let them continue.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Malcolm
I have seen this being used extensively so it is not being ignored.
In some instances depending on where the player is located it can be easier to leave at half way.
It can also depend on the ground and the referee. For safety and crowd control reasons the referee might decide that it is best that players leaves at half way.
I suppose what has not happened is that on substitutions close to half way it has not speeded up the exiting player. My solution to that is create a substitution box in which the leaving player must go to while play is continuing for a substitution to be allowed. That substitution box is treated as part of the field of play in the technical area. A player cannot be substituted until he is in that box with play continuing. Teams do not want to be a player short during play so it would mean play would continue until the player was in the box which would then speed up the process immensely.
Unlikely to happen yet creative thinking can find solutions.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Malcom.
Hmm. perhaps the tradition of the game has the guy leaving high fiving the incoming guy in a single swap as a habit. It is likely different in multi swap matches with unlimited substitutions. Time waste not yet seen as an issue and it is a new feature of the game. ? Like my colleague I too have seen this being used & apply it when necessary to my own matches.

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