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Question Number: 34214

High School 5/9/2021

RE: High School High School

Jason C. of Lacrosse, WI USA asks...

A hypothetical situation and two questions, I'd be interested in answers for both NFHS and IFAB.

90th minute of a US high school playoff game, there's a foul in the penalty area, a penalty kick, and an injury to the fouled player that results in a substitution for the team taking the kick. Amid all the uproar, the substitute is mistakenly allowed to take the penalty kick and it is scored. Immediately upon the kick being scored the referee recognizes that an ineligible kicked it.

First question - is the penalty retaken or forfeited. Second, if the referee does not know the answer to the first question, would it be proper in this very important situation to take a three minute break and consult the NFHS rulebook (or if it were a club game, the IFAB rules)?

Thanks as always!

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


When you say 90th. minute in a high school game, I assume that you are meaning that there is less than a minute remaining in an overtime, possibly golden goal period since high school games are played in 40 minute halves. Therefore, getting this rule correctly is critical to the outcome of the game.

You are correct that this was a mistake as NFHS Rule 3.3.2b4 state: "If the injured player is being replaced during a penalty kick situation, substitutes may not take the penalty kick."

Because the game was not restarted, this is a correctable error and the penalty kick should have been retaken NFHS Rule 5.1.2 indicates that officials can correct an error as long as the game has not restarted.

As to your second question, if the referee is not certain of the rule, he/she should make every attempt to know the rule before restarting play. The first option would be to consult the other officials. Hopefully, one of the other two or three officials would be familiar with this rule. If not, the rules book should be consulted, and hopefully, the referee will have brought the rules book to the field.

If this was a Golden Goal situation and the game ended with the goal, the referee can change the decision and retake the kick if the decision to do so is made before the officials leave the field of play and its immediate surroundings (NFHS Rule 5.1.2).

I hope that you get to work in the boys high school finals next weekend and have a very successful summer officiating season.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
So we are in REGULATION time not deciding a winner via a shoot out correct? Is it a golden goal situation whereby the PK, if scored, ends the match?? That is not possible in an IFAB/FIFA match anymore!

If there is an opportunity to retake in the high school it should be retaken immediately by a player legally permitted to take the PK , because if it was not retaken and used as a result it likely would be protested & overturned!

High school does not allow substitutes to take a PK but IFAB/FIFA has no restriction if a substitution is legally made during the match itself. That sub becomes a player and could take the PK.

However, there are no substitutions allowed AFTER the match time is over and we are looking to decide a winner on KFTPM- UNLESS it was an injured keeper and there was still a substitute 0ption left. The only restriction on taking a PK during KFTPM is everyone who has NOT shot must go before a player who has!

I have seen examples of officials not understanding the LOTG or rules as it were of certain conditions or circumstances that cause great hardship to teams due to the match being compromised and forced to replay or cause a result to be voided. As my colleague says it would be good to have a thorough grounding and a clear direction by the officials to arrive at the correct decision before any incorrect action affected the match outcome unfairly!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jason
In a MLS game back in Nov the referee had to send off the Orlando goalkeeper for a second caution during Kicks from the Penalty Mark.
Orlando believed that they could make a substitution which was initially agreed to by the referee and 4th official. VAR stepped in to prevent that being completed and the substitute goalkeeper was asked to leave the field of play and an outfield player took over the goalkeeping duties.
Had play restarted with the illegal substitution the referee would have had a serious problem to deal with particularly if another kick was taken.
In your example as play has not restarted after the error in allowing the substitute to take the penalty kick the referee can go back and have the kick retaken by an eligible player.
In respect of your second question the referee would be entitled to consult both the other officials and the rule book if one was available to come up with the correct decision.

The MLS situation showed that no matter how long it takes that it vitally important that the correct decision is made as an error can result in a protest which is never a good situation for a referee to have to deal with.

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