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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34158

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/15/2021

RE: Competitve Other

Lee Phillips of Wolverhampton, UK asks...

Hypothetical situation.
What happens next?
The defending team makes a substitution and the player has to leave on the far side of the pitch. Just as he is walking behind his keepers goal, there is an attack by the opposing team.
The keeper runs out off his line and the attacker chips the keeper, the ball is rolling with enough pace and on target to score. However the substituted player who is now just by the post sees what is happeningsteps onto the pitch and clears the potential goal.
Wh at happens next?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Lee,
What happens next is that a penalty is awarded and the player in question receives a red card.

This is as stated in laws 3 & 12, as follows:

Law 3:
"If a team official, substitute, substituted or sent-off player or outside agent enters the field of play, the referee must:
only stop play if there is interference with play - have the person removed when play stops - take appropriate disciplinary action

If play is stopped and the interference was by:
a team official, substitute, substituted or sent-off player, play restarts with a direct free kick or penalty kick"

Law 12:
"A player, sent-off player, substitute or substituted player who enters the field of play without the required referee’s permission and interferes with play or an opponent and denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is guilty of a sending-off offence."

If the substitution was already fully completed before the incident, there are no further repercussions during the game, although the substituted player will be subject to later disciplinary action from the competition organisers. If the substitution was not completed (i.e. the new player had not yet entered the pitch) the player who was waiting to come on will not be allowed to do so and the offending team will continue the game with one less player.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Lee,
The fact play HAS restarted means the substitution is likely final.

Thus the actions by the substituted player are misconduct DOGSO by an offense punishable with a free-kick. The substituted player (no longer a player in the FOP) would be shown the red card and no longer allowed back into the match should it be unlimited subs BUT the defending team is spared being down a player.

The restart would be a PK if the interference was within the PA or a DFK if outside the PA.

As neutral officials we must apply the LOTG, although it is tempting to think we should just award the goal because it would have been fair, that said, the recalcitrant defender is likely going to be missing several matches once the disciplinary committee verdict is in!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Lee
What happens next is covered under the amended Law 12.
IFAB the law making body like many in the game was of the opinion that illegal actions on the field of play during play by substitutes, substituted players, sent off players and technical staff should be punished by a direct free kick from where the offence took place or a penalty kick if the offence happens inside the penalty area. Heretofore it was an indirect free kick and a caution for entering the field of play without permission. That has all changed now with a more serious sanction.

So in your example the substituted player is shown a red card and the restart is a penalty kick. That in many ways is a fair way of dealing with misconduct that has denied or has the potential to deny a goal.
Here is an example of a physio denying a goal
The decision now is that the physio is shown a red card, reported for his misconduct and the restart is a penalty kick.

The downside of this Law change is that it has consequences for less serious offences
In this example a substitute warming up behind the goal line plays the ball ON the field of play. In that example which has not denied a goal the substitute is punished by a caution and as the offence happened inside the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded.

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