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Question Number: 35224

Law 5 - The Referee 11/13/2023

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

This question is a follow up to question 35218

Thanks, but I still see a contradiction there. (for example, in Mr. Dawson's text)

Don't take it personally, Mr. Dawson! It's not your fault :-)

Mr. Dawson quotes IFAB Q&As states: '...The offending player cannot be cautioned, or a yellow card shown, as the offence has occurred BEFORE THE REFEREE HAS ENTERED THE FIELD OF PLAY at the start of the match.

(Mr. Grove quotes the IFAB statement similarly)

After which Mr. Dawson writes:'So if we witness a USB action that we would caution if in a match, but THAT OCCURS BEFORE KICK OFF we record it but do not show the card.'

So can I show the card after the kick off or already when the players are singing the anthems? The referee has already ENTERED THE FIELD OF PLAY and is watching their singing. :-)

Maybe that could clarify Law 3.6.

A player who is sent off:

- before submission of the team list cannot be named on the team list in
any capacity

- after being named on the team list and before kick-off may be replaced by a named substitute, who cannot be replaced the number of substitutions the team can make is not reduced

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

According to that, it looks like the kick off is decisive :-)

However, Law 5.3 mentions this: 'If, before entering the field of play at the start of the match, a player commits a sending-off offence, the referee has the authority to prevent the player taking part in the match
(see Law 3.6).

I think the rule makers have a contradiction there. Referees and players enter the pitch before kick-off, if I'm not mistaken. :-)

If so, then I can show a red or yellow card already before kick-off. Then one team can start a match with ten players. What if the goalkeeper is sent off? After all, I can't use the match substitution before the match. So I have an empty goal until the first interruption. (or catches the attacker). :-)

On the other hand, if the players jostle right after the match, I can also show them the card. Which seems right to me. Why? It feels exactly the same as after the end of the first half.

Someone should clarify if it is from the opening whistle to the final whistle. Possibly from entering the field to leaving after the match. Or from the opening whistle to leaving the field after the match.

I would prefer the last option (from opening whistle to leaving the field after the match, including the entire half-time break!). This option is the only one consistent with common sense.

Thank you and please accept my apologies for the long text. :-)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr no offence taken,
I tend to overstate and lean to the more philosophical than get direct or to the point. In 2016 they changed the LOTG to deal with pre-match BS. The reasoning was crap was happening in the tunnels before they players entered the FOP. No one sees the cards so they figured why bother as it affects the card count plus it is before they are actually on the FOP, The fact is in the pros the referees are sequestered so as to prevent any clashes unnecessarily. Grassroots we are all out and about the field as everyone arrives at various times , so they are trying to affix a timeline as the the actual start of when a referee authority should commence to show a public card.

So they are NOW on record a stating if you are sent off BEFORE kick off it does not affect the # of players, just 1 less off the roster to sub with. and if you do a dumb USB action we only record it no need to show a yellow card. They determined the kick off as the place to start USING cards and establishing the send off reduction or the start of the cautionable card count!

I believe you are indicating that ONCE they march onto the FOP BEFORE the referee whistles the start of play at the kick off should or could a card be shown to a player engaged in a USB event? In my earlier days I would have said 100% now it seems they want us to write it down and continue with the kick off. If we warn perhaps state , keep it up and I will have you expelled before the kick off, as a way of bringing them in line?

Yet I agree with you if they are in the process of, already sang the anthem, traded flags, flipped the coin surely they SHOULD be carded for USB and shown the yellow card? But if they continued say dissenting and we showed a second caution then the red card and off he goes as KICK off has not occurred, they can just put on another player. They still would not play short . Yet if we only cautioned then started and he decided one last dissent venture we stop show a 2nd caution out comes big red and NOW they play a man down?! Sigh.
Maybe send a letter to the IFAB and request they take your thoughts on this matter under consideration. They seem to ignore us when it comes to advice. They prefer to tell us . lol

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Thanks for the follow up.
Yes there is a contradiction here. IFAB spells out in the Laws what you quote about dismissal offence not connected with play before kick off. In respect of cautionable misconduct it simply says that the matter is reported and not brought into the game when it happens off the field.

So yes entry on the field and the kick off is decisive in respect of cards. A player commits a red card offence witnessed by the referee from entering the field of play for the pre-match inspection until kick off takes no part in the game and the replacement situation is spelt out. The team does not play short.

Contrary to that misconduct off the field of play that would ordinarily result in a caution is not brought into the game on to the field yet simply reported after the game to the match authorities

IFAB back in 2016 stated that it is logical that if, for example, two players have a fight in the tunnel, or in the pre-match warm up, they can not be allowed to play as this would risk match control and not be good for the image of the game....
Non-sending-off offences will be reported so YCs cannot be issued prior to the match or carried into the match
It also stated that a referee has the power to show yellow or red cards from entering the field of play at the start of the match until after the match has ended, including during the half-time interval, extra time and kicks from the penalty mark
Clarifies that the referee may only use red and yellow cards from entering the field of play at the start of the match.

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