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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34689

Law 3 - The Players 9/3/2022

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one situation, please.

The referee is informed of the substitution. After that the game is stopped. Opponent takes quick free kick. Can the referee ignore the substitution for now? Or won't allow to play?

Than you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
The answer is yes the referee can allow the quick free kick. Is it a good decision to do so? Probably not yet it depends on how the referee has been informed. The referee might opine that the substitution is not ready or that it was not clearly communicated or for that matter not done so at all. He might also opine that the substitute is not ready and it is simply a tactic to hold up the game.
It is easy to not be aware of a substitution communication particularly if the referee is on the other side of the field of play whereas close to the technical area it will be clearer.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
The substitution does not occur until the referee signals it to begin not the fact the 4th or AR are indicating the team WANTS to sub!

I am thinking that the substitute is there AT the midline waiting to come on as being indicative that that teams wants to substitute and that is informing the referee a substitute is pending. not that it MUST occur at the next stoppage! .

At the grassroots if there is a legal substitution opportunity the team has the right to get that player on the FOP before the end of the match but there are provisions within the LOTG for youth and seniors to alter these conditions. Like only on your possession or if the other team substitutes on their possession. Also we can have at the referees' discretion like a long ball kicked out for a throw in or corner with no impact on delaying the match . As long as the substitutes were already at the midline before the stoppage . They can not come on off the bench unless it was for an injury substitution, for say the keeper.

At the elite since there are not UNLIMITED substitutions so they might be less inhibited on any stoppage. It is because time is STOPPED to permit a substitution and that time added onto the 45 whereas Grassroots time is not usually stopped albeit plausible to add time if the team subbing are seeking to unfairly squander the available time This tactic is rift in matches where tournaments and multiple matches create a lack of field time and matches are not permitted to run over! .

The communication where the sign is held up identify who is coming off and who is going on, number 5 for number sixteen etc. is held aloft I am thinking the decision is to substitute at the very next stoppage unless something very unusual were to occur . I am unsure if a quick restart would be permitted if it was the attacking team substitute wanting to get on, that might depend on the usefulness of the opportunity and match time left but if the substitution was the opposition it is more likely the quick free kick can be permitted as advantage might be in play. as long as the referee had NOT signaled for the substitution to begin. The referee should not signal for a substitution then halt it to accommodate a change of tactical plans.


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