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Question Number: 33741

Law 3 - The Players 10/28/2019

RE: Under 19

jerold of phoenix, az USA asks...

Is it bad form to stop a game to allow a substitution, then cancel the substitution if the team is taking too long to do it?

A few weeks ago on U19 boys match I called a free kick in the attacking third and stopped a restart to allow the defending team to sub. After 10-15 seconds went by with not hearing any player called off and no one moving, I blew the whistle for play to continue. The coach was very upset at me for not allowing the sub and when we talked about it after the game, I explained my reasoning (already stopped the opposing team's FK restart in their attacking third, no sub movement after 15 seconds so I restarted play). He was more calm and told me that 'the sub was a soft spoken boy and he wants them to take initiative calling out subs instead of using his loud coaching voice to do it'. This was a match played on an American football high school field with a handful of spectators in the stands so there was not any noise pollution, but it didn't appear to be an intentional delay tactic.

Was I in the right for restarting play without allowing the sub after that delay, or if I stop a play for a sub should I always follow it through? I have done this multiple time sin the past when the sub/players stand around and never got grief for it.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jerold
You were perfectly entitled to do what you did. If a team is not getting on with the substitution then play can and should resume.
And well done on taking the decision of getting on with play. If the team is not ready then so be it. There is going to be another opportunity very shortly.
For me context is everything. If it a tight game and it is viewed as a delaying tactic then no way should that be allowed. If a substitute is not stood at half way ready to enter then restart the game. If there is a tardiness on behalf of the exiting player then he is spoken to to speed up his exit. Failing to do so can be a card.
If it is the losing team and none to fussed about getting on with play then are the opponents going to be upset about the time taken. I doubt it so no big deal.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jerold,
I think what you did is fine here. You could have called out to ask the coach if he's making the sub - but at that point if there isn't anything happening immediately, I'd be continuing with play - a simple 'let's make it quicker next time, thanks coach' is all the discussion warranted.
His excuse is inadequate - there are ways that he can encourage assertiveness that don't involve expecting the game to wait.

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