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Question Number: 34953

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/18/2023

RE: 5 Senior County Adult

Colin Davies of Brighton , Sussex England asks...

Can a player be sin binned before kickoff and if so can his team replace him with a substitute?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Colin,
A player can be sent off before the match and replaced by a named substitute . It does not affect the number of subs in the match nor do they play a man down, just 1 less player to choose from! Now if the player was shown the yellow card, cautioned only, before the match began I would think that player still starts as a player and would need to be careful as another yellow card and he would be sent off reducing his team by a player! Perhaps a local ROC might prohibit a change or allow a sit out at the start but I do not think in the LOTG as the starting 11 can be changed right up until kick off as long as they were rostered players on the team list!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Colin
Thanks for the question
A player dismissed before kick off can be replaced by a named substitute. Before kick off means all the way up to the actual start of the game on the field of play.

The number of allowed substitutes during the game does not change yet the team has to choose from one less substitute as the named substitute has now become a player.

A named substitute who is sent off before or after the kick-off may not be replaced.

As to a Sin Bin caution the Law only makes reference to play rather than anything happening outside of play before kick off. The sin bin would normally be connected with play. If the offence is not a sending off offence then a team would not play short before kick off.
The player would as they say be skating on thin ice as I'm sure any referee who has had to tolerate "dissent" before kick off is not going to tolerate anything untoward from that player during the game.

So the Law is mute on the point and the FA makes reference to the fact that any incidents of dissent during penalties, half time or full time should be dealt with by issuing a caution for dissent. All these happen on the field of play with other matters reported as misconduct. If a substitute commits dissent during half time they receive a caution for dissent which in itself is an answer as the sin bin is not used for that. That substitute could play immediately based on that. One would assume that in these instances that pre match out on the field of play would also apply.

So I think the answer is a caution for dissent should it happen on the field of play which is reported against the player and the sin bin is not used.

For what it is worth my experience is that if a player is involved in verbals before kick off it is not going to take long for that same player to commit dissent during the game. Rather than getting involved in the legalities of a sin binning before kick off, as a referee I would simply adopt zero tolerance towards that player during the game with any leniency used up in the pre kick off verbals.
I would also deal with dissent before kick off as per the normal procedure where the sin bin process is not used and then use the sin bin process during the game.

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