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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34527

Law 3 - The Players 3/11/2022

RE: Rec Under 16

Kyle Robinson of Gilbert, AZ USA asks...

During an injury assessment (when coach from injured player's team enters field to check on player) the other team gathers near the touch line to converse with their coach.

If players leave the field w/o permission from ref, they should be cautioned (YC), correct? If yes, what is the restart and do all players that left the field get YC?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Kyle,

Don't go looking too hard for reasons to card players - and don't go looking for the 'gotchas'.

Yes, we want players here to stay on the field - but keep in mind that if anybody does step off the field as part of the team huddle, or to grab a quick drink, they're not doing it to gain any advantage and it's not impacting anything - it's just not understanding or forgetting their requirements, and you can manage it instead.

The AR on this side, if you have one, should keep the players on the field (though if somebody blatantly ignores that instruction, sure, consider a card).

Don't make too big a deal out of it - if it's nearby, go and talk to them - 'hey guys, just make sure you stay on the field, will you? Thanks!' - or if it's far away, then next time you're near the coach just briefly hold up play, run over, and quickly ask him to keep the players on the field.

If you do issue a card, the restart is whatever the restart was going to be - misconduct while the ball is out of play doesn't change a restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kyle
The Laws of the Game do not cover every single situation. The Laws are there to ensure the game is played as intended and certain laws are to bring order to situations such as substitutions, players , technical staff leaving /entering the field of play without permission. Without those laws the games could descend into disarray causing all sorts of problems for the game and officials.

So I'm with Referee Wright on this. While players should not leave the field of play without permission in this particular circumstance the officials do not need to be overly officious in dealing with this. If half the team is on the other side of the touchline is a referee going to caution 5/6 players or substitutes who bring on the water bottle carrier, medical bag a few yards?

That's not the intention of the law so if it is easily done I would suggest that the referee just reminds the team to stay on the field of play. Sure if they all asked for permission to leave would it be denied?

So keep it simple and only enforce blatant breaches of this law such as a substitute running on during play or a single player going off to confront say a spectator or some other clear unsporting act.
In addition AR1 should be paying particular attention to the technical area at this time to ensure nothing unusual happens which rarely if ever does. Just to be aware of what is happening.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

H Kyle,
if officials go looking, they can justify just about any decision in the LOTG but the necessity of doing so defeats the very purpose of the laws which were designed in theory to protect the spirit of the game by ensuring the players' safety and allowing a competitive match to conclude with a minimum of interference.

Technical offenses such as these are there to stop things like time-wasting, illegal substitutions, and confusion about who is or is not a player on the FOP. They are not there to stop a player from getting a water break or a coach from giving tactical instructions during a stoppage. ARs and 4th as well as the CR can just herd them a bit and suggest calmly a corrective action.

As a collective group here all of the panel members suggest try not to FIND a reason to card. ONLY IF they are obtuse, disrespectful, confrontational well then, players and coaches must accept the consequences of idiotic actions.

In your scenario the restart would not change as only misconduct could occur during a predetermined stoppage. The restart for WHY play was already stopped be it a free kick, corner, goal kick, throw in or DB for an injury is how you would restart!

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