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Question Number: 34375

Law 3 - The Players 10/9/2021

RE: Competitive Other

MATTHEW of BRISTOW, VA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33819

Law 3 states that each team must have a keeper, so if a keeper suffers an injury during play that prevents him from playing as a goalie, shouldn't play be stopped sooner than say for a field player with cramps.

Also similar scenario to the original post keeper dives to make a save but collides hard with the post. The ball rebounds to an attacker along the end line at the edge of PA. Attacker chips the GK who is still on the ground and ball goes in the net. Prior to the kickoff, the ref sees the GK stand up but with significant stability issues and blood from his head.(Concussion) Your Call? Your Match. Your Reputation.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Matt
lol common sense, if the injury is seen & deemed serious the whistle goes. A cramp is a bit different but should we be aware the keeper IS in difficulties it would be prudent to stop play, possibly not immediately, if the goal is imminent given the keeper is down after a dive to the left the ball entering the goal on the right was ALWAYS a sure bet. The attack if pressing and successful with the injury deemed not serious, its a good goal, even if later it turns out to be serious.

You can not undo a decision made with integrity, you can potentially undo a mistake which is different.

In bang bang plays where there is contact & a goal quickly results as the keeper lies there recovering. You can not do anything but take it in the chin as you will get derrided by one team or the other based on a weak or quickly reversed decision.

So Yes, if that ball were to completely cross the goal line under the crossbar between the posts and you had NOT stopped play the goal could count. The team scoring could if they choose allow the other team a free chance to even up after the kick off but that would be their choice. I have seen it done a time or two where the guilt of an iffy goal compromised their sense of fairplay.

One thing I will say, although the whistle is our signal to let players know, I have witnessed several injuries where I stopped play in my mind even before the whistle sounded. I have been fortunate that no goal proceeded the stoppages but I did witness a keeper collision that the match referee was trying to stop play but failed to do so because he lost the whistle and a goal resulted. He explained that the goal was not going to count because he had STOPPED Time BEFORE the goal was scored The lack of a whistle, while not a good thing, was not hurtful, as the decison for the match was correct, we all would stop from the collision as both heads were contacted and both players down and his reputation suffered no ill effects that time.

SAFTEY SAFTEY SAFTEY if you suspect the keeper suffers from such a serious injury where he can not perform as a keeper, you can halt play. If you missed it or choose to ignore it chances are you will have to answer in the post match assesment as to why but you are not a doctor nor does you skill to read a theatrical performance truly save you when things go wtong! You certainly do not want to hesitate and delay, allow a goal to be scored and then TRY to change your mind based on how serious the injury turned out to be

As a referee you make the best decision you can based on what you know for sure . The teams while they might not enjoy the outcome for any decision taken they can agree to disagree and yet still respect you if you man up and take responsibility. Showing both courage and humility, that a quicker whistle might have been better or a delayed one more approprate.

It is interesting that this question raised the specter of an old Q&A question as to when a keeper is not there in the sense of law 3 & how law 5 might apply. Given todays LOTG how would you answer it?

During live play, after having been cautioned and shown the yellow card for a reckless challenge much earlier in the half, the goalkeeper for the blue team, in apparent frustration, storms off the field of play, muttering his disgust at the way his team mates are playing. He walks away from the goal, across the touchlines straight past the technical area and into the changing room!

At this stage, all other players and the referee are deep in the other half, attacking the red team's goal.

The AR controlling the technical area is responsible for the empty half, witnesses the blue goalkeeper leave.

Panicking, the coach for the blue team instructs his substitute goalkeeper to run onto the field of play into position, fully dressed in the same colours as the other goalkeeper!

The AR tries telling the coach and replacement keeper not to do this!

Just as our replacement keeper arrives in his goal area , the red team breaks away, launching a counter attack.

One on one with the blue replacement goalkeeper, a red striker shoots the ball for the top corner. The blue replacement goalkeeper makes an amazing save, tipping the ball over the crossbar and over the goal line.

At this point, the AR on the technical area side (who has witnessed all these events) calls over the referee and informs him of what has happened.

What action does the referee take?
Your Match! Your Decision! Your Reputation!

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Matthew,
I think it's reasonable to say that play should be stopped sooner, but I've always supported allowing the attack to play out as long as it doesn't seem to be a serious injury. Why shouldn't the attacking team be able to capitalise on the keeper having a cramp or strain?

I once had a situation in a local first grade match where an attacker rounded the keeper, keeper went down and stayed down (I forget why - can't remember if it was a collision, or just down with cramp or similar - either way, nothing to indicate a serious injury or head injury), attacker scored. To this day I'm still happy with my decision to allow the goal. Attacker took a few moments to control the ball before continuing to score (maybe there were defenders around), but it all played out within a few seconds - and clearly, the same phase of play.

I had an assessor on the day who told me that I should have stopped play immediately (unfortunately, like referees, some assessors are simply better than others). I think we've already covered why that's necessary - but the additional concern I have is that if that was the approach we were to take, then wouldn't that just encourage a keeper to stay down once an attacker is past them?

Also, with such a short timeframe, I haven't had the opportunity to get any indication of a serious injury - is he staying down because he's hurt, or because he just needed a moment to get to his feet?

For your second scenario, colliding hard with the post and staying down is much more likely to be a serious injury - there's quite a high risk of a collarbone break or concussion. These ones I think should be stopped immediately once it is apparent the keeper isn't getting up.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matthew
First off Law 3 has not been infringed. The team *still* had a goalkeeper. The old FIFA Questions and Answers had a question about a quick throw in while a goalkeeper had slid off the field to challenge for the ball. The answer stated that play should continue as the team had a goalkeeper albeit off the field for a few seconds . In your sçenario it is not a Law 3 situation.

It is however a Law 5 matter and the Laws state that a referee ** allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is only slightly injured
# stops play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play.** A goalkeeper does not have to leave the field of play on an injury.

So it is a judgement call for the referee to make what is the extent of the injury and whether play should stop.
I was an AR in a game a few seasons ago. In an aerial challenge there was a clash of heads and the ball fell to an attacker who scored immediately from the ball that fell from the aerial challenge. The conceding team tried to make out that as it was a head injury the game should have been stopped. The game WAS stopped with the scored goal and the player got immediate treatment.

It is much the same scenario as the goalkeeper incident. The immediate nature of the play meant that play was stopped with the goal. As play has been stopped the goalkeeper can and should get immediate treatment. Had the ball been cleared upfield and /or play continuing for a period then I would expect a referee to stop play to get the injury dealt wiith.

So each situation will be different and the referee has to take account of circumstances. In some of these instances the focus is more on the bang bang nature of the play on goal rather than an injury. Play has been stopped almost instantly so the referee or players may not be immediately aware or does not have to intervene as play has been stopped anyway. Even in your example the injury was not apparent until the kick off. That does not read to me that there appeared to be a serious injury situation? Obviously it was but did not present as that. It would be entirely a different matter if play continues with an injured player who is bleeding with a head injury lying on the ground.

I once had a player who was the last defender go down with cramp / strain on 2 v 1 and he tried to get the game stopped after the pass put an attacker through on goal. It was nothing more than an attempt to stop play so as to not concede a goal. I allowed play to continue and I think the goalkeeper saved the attempt on goal after which I stopped play to deal with the *injury*

The final point I would make is the Fair Play aspect of this. There was the famous DiCanio incident where he stopped play due to a goalkeeper injury

Was it going to make a huge difference if the strain injury was treated 10 / 20 seconds later?
The player felt that stopping play was the sporting thing to do rather than anything to do with an injury treatment. Players can deal with these situation themselves by bringing it to the referees attention or stop playing rather than it being exclusively the responsibility of the referee. Many players like the referee may not know the extent of an injury and play continues until it is apparent.

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