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Question Number: 20040

Law 3 - Number of Players 9/23/2008

RE: Bronze Club Level Under 16

Kushal Dutta of Irvine, CA USA asks...

Ugly foul in midfield - #8 of blue team takes our #9 of red team, who gets up an dretaliates by roughly pushing blue #8. Other players run in and separate them. Referee comes running, sees that the red #9 is bleeding, red cards the blue #8 and awards a DFK for red team. Red coach shouts 'Ref Sub', and substitutes the #9. In the meantime, ref walks over to the AR, discussed the retaliation with her, comes back and decides to red card red #9 (now on the bench) for violent conduct. The ball has been dead all this while. Question is - should the red team now play with 11 player (as the red carded player was on the bench when he received the red card) or with 10 players (as the restart had not taken place since the incident). In this particular case, the ref made it a 10 v 10 game - was he correct?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

The issue is a substituted player is being back tracked as a player for VC as retaliation for the tackle that sent the opponent off. The fact there was blood involved meant that #9 was leaving for injury regardless still there is no restart as of yet but did we allow a legal substitution?

The coach can not call the sub it must be done according to protocol with permission of the referee! It occurred at a stoppage and the exchange was made thus we have a new player and a substituted player #9.

I could likely not pursue the VC by red #9 as referee (because SURELY I would have noticed misconduct of that magnitude if I was seeing the original foul?) My AR better give that info much quicker and be VERY convincing before any substitution procedure was to be followed.

The fact that a substitution was made and a new player entered the #9 player can still be shown the red card and sent off and not allowed to take further part in the match and his team MUST play down a player because PLAY has not restarted.

? takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences. He is not obliged to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play
? acts on the advice of the assistant referees regarding incidents that
he has not seen
? indicates the restart of the match after it has been stopped
? provides the appropriate authorities with a match report, which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players and/or team officials and any other incidents that occurred before, during or after the match

Decisions of the Referee

The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.
end quote

The fact that we have finally concluded the red #9 player is sanctioned for the misconduct while AS a player, one red player must leave the field to compensate (any player can be accepted in unlimited subs where if limited subs then the player who entered when #9 left is not punished but should leave the field reducing his team to ten and still available to be substituted later . . The whole thing stinks and much discussion in the post game will take place. 10 on 10 might be fair but given the circumstances but it is a ugly situation made even uglier by the inept officiating
br> Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

What a mess. Something that could have been totally avoided by the ref being more decisive. The time to decide that the retaliation by Red #9 was violent conduct is before he went off the field, not after. The substitute should not have been allowed to enter the field until the misconduct was taken care of - with the result that there should have not been a substitution.

The thing to do is to ask, 'What happened first?' The misconduct happened before the substitution. Therefore once the referee sorted out what he should have done, he goes back in time to put the events in chronological order. Injured #9 should have been sent off, so there should have been no substitution. Unfortunately the ref allowed the substitution, so he will have to instruct the sub to leave the field. The sub could go on for any other player, either now or later in the game.

A more decisive referee who dealt with both players' misconduct sooner would have avoided this situation. Unfortunately the ref's indecision led to a mess that may have allowed Red to play with 11, when they should have only been playing with 10.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

I'm not sure how a coach shouting 'sub' grants him permission to do anything. Without more information on that part of the scenario it is impossible to give a definitive answer. If the coach yelled 'sub', and the player left the field because of blood, was it really a sub or just a coincidental coach voice call along with the referee's allowance of the player bleeding to leave the field?

My colleague Ref Voshol has what seems to me to be the most logical solution here, which is possible and probable, given that no restart has occurred. 1) go back in time to the incident; 2) if the info from the AR is accepted, send off #9 for VC; 3) restart with a direct free kick for #9's team, with each team now playing a man down.

Since we don't know how the referee resolved this issue, we cannot tell you whether the choice was within the bounds of the Law or not.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

This should be simple, but of course mass confusion and poor mechanics make it hard to solve.

The team should play short. The AR observed a player of record commiting an act of violent conduct, a send-off offense. The referee is not given this information until after #9 has been lawfully substituted out.

However, the referee is later informed, before play is restarted that #9 must go. Under the idea that it's when the referee decides to act and not when the decision is announced, the player #9 should be sent-off and the substitute should be removed (at no penalty to the sub). The team plays short because the AR decided VC had happened, and the referee accepted this information and acted on it. The offense occurred while he was still a player, and therefore, the team must play short.

The referee should have waited before permitting a substitution until all of the facts were determined and the dust had settled.

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Answer provided by Referee Gil Weber

I would argue that it doesn't matter whether the referee allowed the substitution or not. The game has not restarted, and so the referee can act on information received at any time up to the moment the game does restart.

In this case the substitution can be nullified and the number 9 sent off for VC. His team plays short. They can still substitute if they want, but for another player. Number 9 is done for the day.

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