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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34589

Law 3 - The Players 5/15/2022

RE: Competitive

Peter Babbage of Hjorring , Denmark asks...

I realise this would come under a ‘local’ rule but would be grateful for your opinion. At the lower levels here we have the 10 minute ‘sin bin’. In a recent game a substitute entered the fop before the other had come off. Now this was a fairly junior level game and though technically incorrect I used my discretion and allowed it to slide. So for a short time they did have 12 on the field even though play was stopped. If I had gone by the letter of the law I was wondering so the departing player had done nothing wrong so it would be the one who had entered the fop without permission. So yellow card. and he would have had to sit out 10 minutes. However could another have taken his place from the bench or must they play one light for 10 minutes? I assume so .104901

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter ,
with unlimited substitutions, even if you follow really strict substitution protocols occasionally you can wind up with too many bodies on the FOP. Perhaps if there was no goal scored and no stoppage you could let it slide given there was no significant outcome. You are correct that if you can identify the extra body as a caution for the illegal entry but what if it was your poor mechanics that caused it? I see no reason to assume the team with 12 now must play with 10 once the extra player is removed? I know of no such local bylaw to be in effect that would mandate that? The sin-bin for the caution is simply that the player can not participate for 10 minutes, not necessarily his team plays short at all? The 12th player is cautioned and can not become active for 10 minutes

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
Thanks for the question

It reads to me that this was a legal substitution which happened while play was stopped? If that was the case then all that happened was poor mechanics at the substitution. It is not as if the team played with an extra player.

Now at lower levels of the game players are not too concerned about the finer points of the law and they see little wrong in entering the field of play before the existing player has left. It is not an intentional deliberate action done for unsporting reasons so I would agree that the best approach is to correct the situation by asking the substitute to return to the touchline and allow the entry after the team mate has left.

Now I know some referees who are picky and a caution could issue. I once saw an assistant referee request a caution for a player that stepped into the technical area to get a water bottle at a stoppage. In my opinion it was harsh and the law was not intended for such actions.

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