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Question Number: 16082

Law 3 - Number of Players 7/21/2007

Steve of Stockton, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 16069

In the earlier question (16069), the coach was switching positions between field players and goalkeeper, ostensibly to waste time during a match where the rules of the competition 'prevented' the CR from adding time. When such tactics are employed, is the CR obliged to wait for the new 'keeper to finish dressing before allowing play to resume? Yes, the 'keeper needs to have a different jersey, but there's nothing in the rules that says the 'keeper must have may the CR allow the match to restart after the 'keeper has donned the jersey but is still fumbling with his/her gloves?

Allowing play to restart while the 'keeper is putting on gloves would certainly send a message to that coach, wouldn't it?

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I think better to tell the keeper to hurry up as you're starting play. Unfortunatly, all too many tournaments are more interested in the schedule than in fair play. That said, our job is to ensure fair play and we sometimes have to get creative to do this inside tournament guidelines. SInce no tournament in the history of soccer has ever been run on time, adding a little time here and there doesn't hurt. The major problem is if you caution and show the yellow card for time wasting, you end up adding to the problem.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

Yes, it certainly would send a message. Unfortunately the message would be just how incredibly foolish the referee has shown himself to be.

Why dig a hole and bury yourself in it? How incredibly counter-productive to make an issue of gloves when you, the referee, have the clock. GK gloves may not be specified in the Laws of the Game but they absolutely are an accepted part of the game, and an accepted part of the GK's equipment.

Add a few seconds. Let the losing team know you are aware of what's going on and are going to make it fair.

But do NOT allow the game to restart while the GK is still getting dressed (and the gloves are part of getting dressed). If you are foolish enough to allow the game to restart and a goal is scored against that GK who is trying to get the gloves on his hands you are going to have a huge problem on your hands. The team will be justifiably irate, and you will likely be surrounded and hounded and, perhaps, worse.

Then you will likely face dissent (or worse) and will have to deal with it through cautions (or worse). And the problems will ALL be of your own making.

Do yourself a favor. Don't dig a hole from which there will be no escape. Think! Think!

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Steve,
in any match there will moments when a referee feels compelled at times to intervene in the match in a way not within his discretionary powers to apply law but instead he applies his version of fair play as he sees it!

I have seen referees disallow legal subs because a match is almost over , drop balls by turning their body between opponents so the one who gets it is the one he wanted to. Offer a solution to fair play by commanding a team WHAT to do. Restart play without a whistle when in fact he told everyone to wait for a whistle. Restarted plays before substitutions were actually finished. taken away goals because they do not like rebounds on pks or awarded INDFK instead of PKs because they feel it would be to unfair.
To allow a keeper exchange then to not allow the exchange to be finished because you think he is wasting time.

Look at the reality of ANY situation.
How reasonable is everyone?

It takes a few seconds to switch jerseys and take off the gloves hand then over and put them on. If the players involved do it unrealistically, take too long or fool around the option to caution is always there but unless they end matches with a horn or siren the referee is supposed to have the final say.

Tournaments will often ask we limit the time added but MOSTLY they request we start on TIME! In any tournament if the match starts on time 5 minutes added is not a big deal. If we start late, go long at the half, fail to deal with time wasting early on, then it might be a greater issue at the match end.

Essentially unless we have a major injury or safety issue where we require medics or must leave due to T and L, time is basically within out power to see it used as it should be. Tactically teams can use up time while the ball is in play it is the WASTING of time when a ball is not in play that MUST concern us!

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

I would urge the keeper to hurry up and add a little time if excessive. If you get yelled at by the tournament, ask them "are you more interested in staying on schedule or fair play" If they answer, "staying on schedule", then I would hand them my game assignments and leave. Seriously! Isn't one of our duties to ensure fair play? If they cannot handle a few seconds being added on, then they have a real deal.

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