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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35070

Law 3 - The Players 8/18/2023

RE: Under 14

Tyler of Vancouver, British Columbia Canada asks...

How does the replacement of a sent off player work? Is the player allowed to be replaced? If it’s the goalie, is the team expected not to have a goalie if they’re sent off? Just getting into the level of red and yellow cards, sorry if this is a stupid question.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tyler,
A player sent off is not allowed to be replaced. And, as per Law 3, both teams must have a GK on the field.

Now, if the player is sent off before the match starts, then they can be replaced by a named substitute. This does not count as a sub - that is, the team can still make all their subs during the game.

If it's the GK who is sent off, then the team needs to make somebody the goalkeeper, and 1 of 2 things will happen:

1)One of the onfield players will change their shirt to the GK jersey, keeping the team at 10 players.

2) If the team still has substitutions remaining (not an issue if you're playing with unlimited subs, as often the case in juniors), then one of the onfield remaining players will substitute off, and the GK on the bench comes on, still keeping it at 10 players.

I'd suggest reviewing Law 3 - 3.6 in particular covers your question about whether players can be sent off.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tyler
welcome to the officiating crew! Youth soccer can be exciting and temperamental so work with good mentors and have assessments &peer reviews to gain confidence and understanding.

What we refer to as the red sleigh ride is the direct red card or a double set of yellow cautions causing that player to be expelled/sent off the FOP where the team of 11 would be down to 10 players for the rest of the game. If the sent off player was the keeper then there MUST be a new keeper even though the team is reduced in overall numbers . What can occur is one of the ten players left can assume the keeper duties and wear the distinguishing jersey. If this is not the case provided there are substitution options a new keeper can come in from the bench technical area BUT he must replace one of the ten remaining on field players still left who then leaves as a substituted player.

It is possible for players to be shown a red card & not permitted to play prior to start up and even after the match is over for misconduct. You would record such in the game misconduct report. A player sent off before the match begins only changes the amount of substituted players available at the start of the match as the team is NOT reduced by a player just that the red carded player cannot participate so they use another rostered player off the bench.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tyler,

According to Law 3:

"A player who is sent off ... after the kick-off cannot be replaced"

As my colleague ref Wright points out, section 6 of Law 3, entitled 'Players and Substitutes Sent Off' gives more details that would be worth looking at.

And although the player sent off cannot be directly replaced, substitutions can be made any time the ball is dead so if a goalkeeper is sent off, the team can remove an outfield player and bring on a substitute goalkeeper in their place, before play restarts. Alternatively, they can have an outfield player go in goal. Either way the team's numbers are reduced by one due to the sending off and they must continue to play with one less player on the field, no matter what.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tyler
Asking questions and seeking answers is vital for learning, accountability and better performance. In the referee world it is always better to ask rather than risk making a fundamental error in a game.

A team must have a goalkeeper at ALL times and that player must wear a shirt that identifies the player as the GK.
If a player is sent off before kick off that player including a goalkeeper can be replaced by a named substitute and the team does not play short. The team just has one less named substitute to chose from and the number of substitutions does not change.

However one play starts at the kick off a player that is dismissed and shown a red card CANNOT be replaced. The team must play short. If that player is a goalkeeper then the team has to either nominate an outfield player to put on the goalkeeper jersey or make a substitution by replacing a player with a substitute goalkeeper, provided of course the team has not used all its substitutions. If it has used them all then an outfield player going into goal is the only available option.
One way or another after kick off for the remainder of the game the team must play short once a player is sent off and there must be a player with the goalkeeper jersey on.

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