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Question Number: 34458

Law 3 - The Players 12/28/2021

RE: l/7 Adult

vince lally of Manchester, United Kingdom asks...

A team turns up with 10 men so you start the game ,the 10 man team are winning 3-0 there manager comes to you and says 1 of his players has to leave ,so they are down to 9 players 15 mins into 2nd half another 1 has to leave ,leaving them with 8 players. the game is a lot closer the score 3-3.With 10 mins left one of the 8 man team gets tackled in the penalty area and screams penalty i think its a good tackle and wave play on the player runs to me shouting and screaming, i am thinking sin bin him to calm down just then his capt comes running over to me and starts shouting and screaming i thought about sin bin both then i stopped
The question what should i do next.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Vince
Thanks for the question
The answer is that there’s no limit on the amount of players that can be in the sin bin at any one time. If a team is reduced to less than seven players due to sin bins, the game will be abandoned as covered under the current Law.

So its the referees call really. Does a referee treat the shouting as dissent and yellow cards which means abandonment when the team number falls below 7 or does he decide to caution none or perhaps the first player / most egregious and tell a team the consequences of being reduced below 7 players.

There is a side of me that says abandon the game yet context could play a part in that if the team has been well behaved to that point does a referee cut the team some slack and tell them to calm down otherwise the game ends. Do we as referees caution every bit of dissent in a game? The captains reaction may make up minds as, after explaining the call and consequences, he is apologetic with no problems to that point I might see a game out.

In this game it was not your fault that the team only has 8 players so its really your call on the day. I know this will not be uniformly enforced by every single referee. Some will abandon while others will try to see the game out.
I personally have no issue with either route a referee takes. Some will say enforce the law fully while others are more mindful of the game, the consequences of a big decision and perhaps the players on the day. I always, where possible, want to see games decided on the field of play rather that at a table, except where that is not possible due to safety concerns etc.

Abandonment can be a serious matter to deal with plus ending the game prematurely can cause all sorts of problems for the referee including dealing with irate players at a contentious moment in the game. Once the game is being played players tend to get on with playing and 10 more minutes of playing can settle matters down.

Anyway the key point is that if sin bins reduce a team below seven it cannot continue. The decision to sin bin is entirely a matter for the referee.

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