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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35589

Other 6/20/2024

RE: National Professional

Herbert B of Columbus, OH United States asks...

What consequence is there for a national team returning to the field late from halftime? Argentina was over 5 minutes late returning to the field for the second half of the Copa America match against Canada. Does the referee have any recourse?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Herbert,
The delay in returning to the field can sometimes be due to various reasons such as extended team discussions, tactical adjustments, or even logistical issues. While it’s not common, referees and match officials have some discretion in managing these situations. In this case, it seems the officials allowed the delay without imposing any penalties. It is not logical to think that delays at tournaments multiple matches especially youth could let such insolence slide. But generally within the rules of Competition usually states there is a maximin time to ensure 7 minimum players take to the FOP to begin the match or half as required! It was a decent Match, Canada, had its moments. Referee missed a few free kicks but overall the team winning deserved it. Canada seems to panic when opportunity comes, they tighten up instead of enjoy and ride the thrill.

A referee would have power and authority to direct the teams to take the FOP and resume play, punishing via cautions, showing yellow card for USB/Dissent and possibly a red card send off if the circumstances deteriorated in double yellows or direct red card misconduct of VC or abuse. Starting a match if players are NOT in position, will only lead to ugliness and attitude. Just record unsavory actions. Use cards to indicate unacceptable behaviour if truly warranted and try to remember, it's supposed to be fun. The need for results and pressure tend to harm that at times!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Herbert

Such matters are reported by the referee in the match report and most likely it will attract a very hefty fine.
A team may be willing to accept that fine if for some reason the team wanted the extra time in the changing room.

Given that there will be all sorts of officials present such as match delegate, match director, observers etc it is likely that disciplinary action of a fine will be sought as every single minute is planned for in the match protocol and managed by a group of officials.
It is particularly relevant when another game is taking place elsewhere at the same time and the outcomes are connected.

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