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Question Number: 33884

High School 2/15/2020

RE: High School Under 16

Larry of Danville, CA US asks...

I was center for a JV girls high school game when the white team subbed 5 players. After five players left (off both sides of the field) and five players entered I restarted the game. Unfortunately, six players actually left, and apparently after about 30 seconds a white player who exited on the far side of the field realized her mistake and re-entered. I had no idea what had occurred, and shortly after the substitution I called handling on the other team. My AR, opposite the side of the illegal re-entry, got my attention and told me to stop the clock. He then informed what happened with the subs. Based on the game and level of play I gave the white player who re-entered a verbal warning, but decided not to card her, then restarted with a DFK for white for the handling. My questions are:

Should I have gone with an IDFK for the other team and if yes, where? What is the proper procedure for an AR in this situation? Should they immediately raise their flag, or wait for a stoppage? What should the restart be and where? What should have happened if a goal had been scored?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

As you are aware, this was an illegal entry which can be penalized with a caution.

The AR should have notified you of the misconduct at the time that it occurred. A caution should have been given and an indirect kick taken from the point of the ball at the time play was stopped. Please see NFHS Rule: 13-2-3a.

Because the game was actually stopped for handling, you were correct in restarting with a DFK. I also think that giving a verbal caution at that time was a good call on your part.

I hope that you have a very successful high school season.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
In this situation, as you had already stopped play for a handling offence, you can't change that to a different restart based on the fact a player entered without permission.

As for the player entering without permission, well technically, that should be a caution but I think I can sympathise with your decision not to, given the circumstances.

It's a tricky one for the AR - normally you needn't stop play unless a player who shouldn't be there, interferes with play but this player didn't interfere as far as I can tell from your description.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
Obviously poor mechanics caused the problem for the game. In multiple substitutions with differing exit points it is always best to check the numbers before restarting.
Now in this situation there is an assumption that the *returning* player did not interfere with play in which case I would say that a verbal warning was acceptable given how it arose. If it was regular returning without permission the player would be cautioned yet the restart would not change unless there was interfering. The Rules makes provision for interfering with play where it states that
* A player, coach or bench personnel enters or leaves the playing field without permission from the official and interferes with play or an official shall be penalized with a direct free kick from the point of the infraction.*
This moves it somewhat in line with FIFA Laws with the exception of the location of the restart which is from the location of the ball in FIFA. In most if not all interfering situations both will be the same .
I was at a game recently and a referee stopped play to caution an injured player for re-entering without permission after treatment. He did not interfere with play yet FIFA requires the restart to be a direct free kick from where the ball was when play was stopped which was with his own goalkeeper which required a penalty kick. Obviously play should not have been stopped but it was.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Larry,
While the textbook answer is that it's a black and white offence and the caution must be issued, given the low age/grade of the players, and the confusing situation, I think you made the best decision for the game.

If you had 2 AR's in this game, then the AR on the far side to the Technical Area has the responsibility to monitor the rest of the field - this can be achieved with a glance while also monitoring the area around the benches from afar. In an ideal world, the AR would have seen the extra player leave, would have looked over and noticed 5 players leaving, and gotten your attention.

That AR could, ideally, have noticed that AR come off but also seen it was completely behind you therefore you'd have no idea that it occurred. That would make the AR suspicious of the process - after all, if she was one of the players to come off, then you would have had to look around to see her (given you'd then be seeing 4 players leaving).

Simply pointing out that there's a few things that might have led your far AR to query the proceedings - of course I wasn't there so I don't know what could be seen. So I'm certainly not suggesting anybody didn't do their duty - just pointing out some things that may help in these scenarios.

If any of the match officials ever have any uncertainty over a substitution with several players, the best thing to do is a quick count. The AR can do this as well and let you know there's 10 on the field, not 11. Now, I know that playing short isn't strictly the referee's concern, but it's about working with the teams and preventing problems (such as what did occur) before they arise.

I'm not sure about High School rules, but I know in a FIFA game you don't need to stop play for a player who has come on without permission unless they interfere. The handling foul doesn't change that, presuming she wasn't involved. So your restart was correct.

This presents a challenge for the AR - they need to monitor that player and raise the flag if they become involved, then call you over.

A thought I had while writing this is that if she was never supposed to leave, then has she re-entered without permission? I'd say that if she came on within a few seconds, then that argument holds. But when she's been off the field for more than, say, 5-10 seconds of play (especially if she's already outside any perimeter fencing, or sitting down to take shinpads off, anything like that to clearly mark her as not playing), then she needs your permission - but at this age I'm not surprised she didn't know what to do.

Final comment - if you know the coach was involved (eg told her to go back on), then I'd suggest having a quick chat to him - but this can wait until you're near that part of the field again.

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