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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35024

Law 3 - The Players 7/8/2023

Crebs Crem of Zagreb, Croatia asks...


Let's say a substitute of team A entered the pitch, the referees couldn't realize until team A won a free kick in a promising point. Assume that the extra player didn't involve in the play. At this point, does the referee have the right to cancel the free kick since a member of team A committed an infringement before they won a free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Crebs ,
quick answer, No the restart is unchanged
unless you are 100% sure the extra player (illegal substitute) created or interfered and caused the incident for why play was stopped. When a free kick infringement occurs against the team with 12 players still on the FOP while they should not benefit from scoring a direct goal we are asked to ignore the extra person UNLESS they created the infringement or actively interfere as part of the infraction. If involved THEN a DFK or PK could be the restart result. If the 12th player was an outside agent, then a drop ball restart.

The free kick incident which creates the stoppage given the extra player played no part in it , ALTHOUGH, if there was, MISCONDUCT involved, that might not change. Cards issued, if the free kick incident had excessive, violent or reckless aspects are still valid. If the incident involved denying a goal or opportunity given a 12 player team could not legally score that card could be rescinded!

In theory the 12th extra player, now identified, who was NOT supposed to be there, is cautioned, shown the yellow card and must leave the FOP before the restart of play.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Crebs,

The only way you would take away a FK is if the referee considers, with new information, that play should actually have been stopped before.

For instance, the ref awards an attacking FK, looks over and sees the AR has a flag up, and finds out the attacker committed an offside offence first. Play should have been stopped before the FK, making the FK incorrect, so the ref can change that as long as play hasn't been restarted.

In your situation, the LOTG states:

If a team official, substitute, substituted or sent-off player or outside agent enters the field of play, the referee must:

only stop play if there is interference with play

have the person removed when play stops

take appropriate disciplinary action

So, if that extra person did not interfere with play, you would caution them with a yellow card, remove them from the field, and continue with the FK.

If, however, the AR calls you over and tells you they were involved in play, then you'd still issue the card and remove them, but you'd restart with a DFK / PK to the opposing team where the interference occurrec.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Crebs
Once there is no interference the substitute is cautioned and removed from the f held of play . The restart does not change

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