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Question Number: 33654

The Technical Area 9/16/2019

RE: High School Under 18

Jim Wood of Whippany, NJ United States asks...


What are the rules for player behavior on the bench? Are players supposed to sit? Are they allowed to stand? Are they allowed to stand on the bench? Should they always wear neutral color top to stop contrast with players on the field? (I think I know the answer to this but wanted to be sure.)

Many thanks in advance for your answers. I did try to find FIFA rules on the subject but couldn't find any,


Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

First of all, there is no technical area in high school soccer. In high school, a technical is a foul that is called in basketball. I mention this in the event that because of the many high school officials who migrate from soccer to basketball when November rolls around.

In high school soccer, there is to a team area for each team that extends 10 yards from each side of the half way line for a distance of 20 yards. It should also be at least 10 feet from the touch line. Each area is to be marked off by a solid line. Team areas can be on the same side of the field or on opposite sides of the field. If on opposite side, they shall be placed diagonally across from each other.

As defined in NFHS Rule 18-1-1b, anyone in the team area is considered as bench personnel.

All bench personnel including coaches and team members are must remain in the team area while the game is being played. One exception is a team member(s) who may leave the team area in order to warm up prior to becoming a substitute.

There are no restrictions against bench personnel standing. Also, there is no restriction on the color of the uniform worn by bench personnel. There is a recommendation in Rule 4-1-3 that substitutes wear distinguishing pinnies when warming up outside the team area. However, this is not a requirement.

As for other restrictions, Bench personnel including coaches, team members, trainers etc. can be cautioned for misconducts as indicated in Rule 12-8-1 thru 15 and disqualified for the misconduct listed in Rule 12-8-2 a thru g. These are the same misconducts that result in cautions and disqualifications for players.

Common bench personal cautions that I see given in high school games are: 1. Cautions given to coaches for coaching outside the team area; and 2. dissent - objecting by word or action to a decision given by an official.

If possible, a fourth official should be utilized. This fourth official can monitor and control the bench personnel. Sample duties of a fourth official can be found on pages 102-104 of the NFHS Rules Book.

I hope that your team has a very successful season and they get to play in the November Championship games at Kean University.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jim,
one word
This is the expected behavior of players be it high school rules or the laws of the game through FIFA
They REMAIN inside the technical area , and conduct themselves in a reasonable manner!

If their team score a game winning goal with 5 seconds left and there was a mass exodus of congratulations & jubilation chances are we cut some slack.

In the pros with the windbreakers and substitute pinnies they remain easily identified not so much at recreational. It certainly helps with identifying who is on or off, who is warming up while waiting to get on. Important to have designated areas and even simple pinnies can help especially on a throw in beside the technical area.

The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, The IFAB expects the referee to make decisions within the 'spirit' of the game – this often involves asking the question, "what would football want/expect?"

This is FIFA not high school criteria but much is the same. The technical area
The technical area relates to matches played in stadiums with a designated
seated area for team officials, substitutes and substituted players as outlined
•  the technical area should only extend 1 m (1 yd) on either side of the
designated seated area and up to a distance of 1 m (1 yd) from the touchline
•  markings should be used to define the area
•  the number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is defined by
the competition rules
•  the occupants of the technical area:
• are identified before the start of the match in accordance with the
competition rules
• must behave in a responsible manner
• must remain within its confines except in special circumstances, e.g.
a physiotherapist/doctor entering the field of play, with the referee's
permission, to assess an injured player
•  only one person at a time is authorized to convey tactical instructions from
the technical area

The LOTG did once request that only one person at a time was authorized to
convey tactical instructions 'and then must return to their position (it was understood to mean 'seated on the bench') after giving these instructions.'. In 2009 this was removed and the persons inside the technical Area were allowed to stand. What has not been changed though are the expectations of behavior the coach and other occupants of the technical area (players/ trainers /subs etc...must behave in a responsible manner

For youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football the use of return substitutes & the use of temporary dismissals (sin bins) creates a more flexible flow chart to get players on or off and in or out. The temporary dismissal area is usually the player's technical area but has been known to sit in-behind the timekeepers bench in certain circumstances.
It is the duty of the 4th Fourth official to monitor and inform the referee of any irresponsible behavior by any technical area occupant.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
The technical area is covered by the Laws of the Game and in addition can and will be also governed by competition rules.NFHS has its own rules which Referee Manjone has outlined in his answer
Now it is all relative. In the World Cup it is spelt out in great detail who sits where, what can be worn, how many can warm up at a time, where they can warm up etc. Nothing is left to chance or interpretation.
Further down the pyramid it gets much more relaxed yet there are some key principles which probably only get strictly enforced when problems arise.
In FIFA games and in no particular order there should only be one person standing with the rest seated, substitutes if warming up should be distinguished from players by the wearing of bibs or tracksuits, everyone behaves in a responsible manner and only those on the roster and technical staff should be in the area.
Now enforcing all that in a game situation can be difficult if there is no 4th official. The referee and assistants have enough to be dealing with in the game without also managing the technical area strictly.
In my game yesterday all the substitutes on one team were laying on the grass outside the TA. They did not bother the game so I just let it slide. If they started to behave irresponsibly then a stricter enforcement of the rules would be applied.

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