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Question Number: 28587

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/9/2014

RE: rec Adult

alex of richmond hill, ontario canada asks...

As AR, an player nearby told me that she was exhausted and cannot breathe so she needs to leave the field. Judging that she can still walked around and talked with me normally, I think she only need some time to catch her breath so I told her to remain on the field and take it easy. Then she says she will leave the field anyway and walked off the field. I raised my flag trying to alert the CR about this incidence. After a while the CR saw my flag and came over, apologised to the team that he was not aware a player left the field.
Now it keeps me thinking what is the correct action to take? Caution the player for leaving the field without permission? or take no action as the player is only trying not to disrupt the game by leaving the field of play?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The purpose of the caution for leaving the field without permission was to deal with players who are engaged in a tactic (e.g., to make an opponent offside) or who are engaged in a form of protest by their action. Permission should be granted (or implied) for those who need to seek medical attention or to correct equipment.

In this situation, the AR should focus on the game, not the player. There is no reason to bring the situation to the referee's attention. The AR should remind the player that she may not reenter without permission of the referee. If she does, that would be misconduct worthy of informing the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
In the case of a serious medical situation do whatever is necessary to deal with it which clearly is to get the player attended to straight away.
In minor injuries etc the correct approach is to take no action. The player has left the field of play to seek medical attention and she has not done so to seek an advantage or to act in an unsporting manner.
ARs should be careful about getting distracted in these situations and making sure that nothing is missed on the field of play. The team's technical staff should be sufficiently alert to pick up on this and to deal with it. If the player has gone to ground then the referee should be alerted as soon as practicable. I tend to shout to the CR when appropriate to alert him. Teams have a responsibility here as well to attract attention.
In relation to disciplinary action I would advise that no action is required for this type of situation. I recently had a player leave the field urgently in a recent game because of a call of nature. He had enough knowledge of the laws not to return until I beckoned him on again. He explained what happened and apologised. A caution would have been unnecessary and unwarranted. If he had rushed back on to thwart an attack or challenge an opponent who did not expect that then by all means deal with it.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


This clearly falls under Law 18. That's the Common Sense Law. And it is so common sense, they don't even publish it!

The player clearly needed medical attention of some sort - you had no way of knowing exactly what that was because you were busy doing A/R duties - and had to leave the field. There is nobody in the world, who would object to this player leaving the field under the circumstances. In the next stoppage, draw the attention of the ref by flag, verbal or help of the players and inform him of what happened.

Of course the player cannot re-enter the field without the ref''s permission and this should be communicated to the player. If she does re-enter without permission, waive flag to stop play and ref must deal with it.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

You as AR are acting on the referees behalf as AR you inform the referee

the referee acts on the advice of the assistant referees regarding incidents that he has not seen

Granted you are not the referee but as his acting representative you know WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT and WHY of this action.

It might have been prudent if you had correctly informed the WHO of the repercussions and that irrespective of whether the ball is in play or not, only the referee can authorize her to re-enter the field of play since she has decided to leave the field of play.
You as the assistant referee can verify WHEN the player is ready to re enter to the referee. Given there is likely unlimited substitution policy at the recreational level a raised flag to indicate one is required and a brief explanation to the referee who MAY want to investigate further and IF he felt she did do something as in disrespecting you by not waiting and leaving without permission he is entitled in law to act on that assumption. The point though is it necessary or good for the match to do so?

The referee must adhere to following procedures when dealing with injured players. It is recognized that a player requires a referee's permission to leave the field, yet to be fair, in recreational matches the referee does not have all the bells and whistles his professional counter parts do. So while the LOTG deem certain things must occur the reality is if Ethel is about to faint from heat or Johnny has to go pee and they go off the field to seek a solution lol chances are they could suffer the fate of circumstances that might befall their team as they might be held as being on the field with say regards to offside as the referee would be unaware why they were off the field.
You though can CHOOSE in the interim to flag offside as if she is on or off the field based on your belief of the legitimacy of her actions. If you thought she has no right to seek aid then consider her on the field at the point she left and flag accordingly if you accepted she was ill and this was necessary again flag as the situation dictates even though the referee can absolve them of a deliberate breech of the laws as he LIKELY would have granted permission had he knew.

I may be incorrect in law but while working as a single official in a u-16boys match I ran into a situation where an injured player had left to seek aid for a severe nose bleed. I incorrectly flagged offside against his opponents who were shouting that there was still a defender, only to realize he was just off the field about 16 yards up from the corner flag , not by choice but necessity only I was not informed. However, it was not his intention to deceive he ran into his own players head and in law it states

any player bleeding from a wound must leave the field of play. He may not return until the referee is satisfied that the bleeding has stopped. A player is not permitted to wear clothing with blood on it

In thinking I certainly WOULD have given permission yet felt no urgency to show a yellow card and caution only explain the consequences and tell him and his coach to SHOUT to me get my attention if there is a serious injury requiring aid. I decided to restart with a drop ball for an inadvertent whistle. I perhaps inappropriately suggested that the opponents should get the drop ball returned which occurred!

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