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Question Number: 34383

Law 3 - The Players 10/15/2021

RE: international Professional

Daniel Hewett of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON Canada asks...

in the recent Canada Panama game at BMO field, a corner was about to be taken.

as the corner kick taker started to back up to take the kick, he started to walk backwards into the Canadian sub that was kneeling off the field.

this started a pushing match involving all players including both benches.

is there an infringement by the sub here? what if the sub is sufficiently off the field but the attacker is excessively backing up to cause the melee?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dan,
it was a great performance particularly in the later stages and gives me some hope they can make it to Qatar and compete at the world level. Alphonso Davies hustle in that 2nd goal is personifying their effort and kudos to John Herdman for evolving this team into a much better team than I have seen on the pitch in the past.

I dislike subs warming up along the goal or touchline where the opponents have every right to not expect them to be under foot. The kneeling Canadian probably thought he was far enough away that he was not a problem That said he could have spoken up and moved as the Panamanian player had his back to him. . The fact the Panamanian player backed into him looked as if it was a, you need to move buddy, we are playing here and the exception his team mate took to the altercation just snowballed this into a stupid bench clearing actions by both teams. This was much ado about nothing, it was instigation to find an issue where there was none. But it was the Canadian kneeling who was the instigator playing head games with the corner kicker . The referee shoud have sorted this out well ahead of the corner given HE is in that quadrant in a 3 man diagonal crew.

Yes a team that supports the other and fights to win a place in a competition has ego and bravado with no quit as well they should. Yet how fooilish to it would be to take a trifling event such as this and wind up in a free for all knock down drag out battle? I think the players knew this and was why it did not escalate as it was not a game changing tackle that crushed an opponent just obstinate prideful players & a stubbed toe.

Whether there are any repercussions, some fine or disciplinary action as a consequence considering both teams illegally left the technical areas and in effect acted in an irresponsible manner with some minor push and shove tetesteron chest beating who can say? Things eventually were sorted out & I did not see any disciplinary cards in the process? There was additional chest beating created I think by a spitting incident at the end of the match, which IF true and proven, could also result in disciplinary actions. I felt the officials managed the match reasonably well as it appears there is no love lost between these two teams. These senseless provications and the follow up spitting can really turn a good game ugly in a hurry when it comes to egos and not backing down. .

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Daniel
I believe that with Covid 19 concerns some associations have given permission to warm up behind the goals. Given the law change in respect of offences by substitutes the repercussions can be significant as seen here.
I don't know anything about the arrangements here in this Panama v Canada game or if the ground was so tight that warming up could not be done along the touchline. Either way it was a recipe for problems which came to pass. I see too many problems now in the abuse of warm up rules by substitutes. I see substitutes kicking balls back, getting involved with players, getting in the way, focussing on the field of play as seen in the video rather than just warming up etc. Many use it as an excuse to leave the technical area only.

In my opinion the Canadian player that was kneeling was out of order here. The player taking the corner kick was entitled to unrestricted movement to take the kick and it does not look to me that his movement backwards was in any way excessive. Far from it.

Now hindsight is 20/20 vision and the moment that there appeared to be a problem here the referee should have been on top of it by moving the substitutes away. No quick decisive action allowed it to escalate and then with the push to the player on the ground it all kicked off. The referee was entitled to move the substitutes away at the start and failure to comply would have been a caution for unsporting behaviour.

As to what should be done now I suspect with all that went on including an alleged spitting incident that FIFA may take a closer look at both incidents.
I also think that monetary fines or playing without fans are a waste of time as national associations just pay up and accept the lost revenue. I believe FIFA and others need to get tougher and start docking points for serious misconduct. If teams felt that they could lose points for off field misconduct there would be much more attention paid to it all ensuring such incidents don't happen or at least that those that do it know that there can be consequences of loss of points.
Would it make any difference here is FIFA docked both teams 50,000 Swiss Francs. Fines have no lasting effect on behaviour in football and they continue to be issued for all sorts including wearing the wrong kit, drinking the wrong sports drinks, promoting competing products of sponsors at games such as beer etc. Until real sanctions are taken most of the actions that FIFA and others want to stop will persist.

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