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Question Number: 29280

Law 18 - Common Sense 4/1/2015

RE: rec Adult

Simon of everywhere, queensland australia asks...

Regarding the latest "You call it" question (#38), where we ordinary referees have a chance to give advice. I have read your answer, and wiping away the verbiage, Im left to wonder why you took a particular position, on the throw-in delivered by the player who was off the field to correct his equipment (change his blood-stained shirt).

It seems your position is the throw-in, was correctly done and assert this by statements, "¦there is no procedural error here! I know this because those FAR above our pay grade have gone on record to SAY so." And, "The referee gave permission because he was satisfied ALL conditions were FINE!" (The permission here refers to the throw in by the player who had left the field to change his equipment, but had not yet returned to the field).

In contrast, I offered the advice, the relevant section of the LOTG at p. 22, the last dot point states, "¦the player is only allowed to re-enter the ď¬eld of play when the ball is out of play". I then stated, he therefore has to enter the field, prior to the throw in, because if he doesnt, then once he throws the ball in, correctly, the ball is in play, if he then follows the ball and, then, enters the field, this is contrary to the stated process.


Your answer made no mention of the mechanics of this action, and either assume the player was standing on the boundary line, as he delivered it, or just ignores the whole issue. Let me clarify, the player was standing 1 yard from the boundary line, such that no part of him entered the field prior to or with the ball. Why then is the satisfaction of the referee or someone who apparently is paid more than they should, be more relevant than what is written in the LOTG?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the feedback! We love to see the sort of debate these scenarios - and answers - cause.

The funny thing about these You Call It scenarios is that sometimes they can be so complicated that they instigate quite a bit of debate amongst the panelists as well! So I'm going to throw in a few considerations here, and ultimately it's up to you what you find most important and how you approach it.

The questions we discussed was whether 're-enter' carries the same literal meaning as 'enters the FOP' when discussing substitutes. Basically, on a substitution, the reason why it's really important for the sub to step onto the field before taking the TI is that if he doesn't and prepares to take a TI, then turns and punches a spectator (this has actually happened to a close colleague of mine), then he can be replaced as the substitution hasn't been completed (and technically he's not a player so can't take the TI, but that's the less problematic concern here).

When a player is looking to re-enter the FOP after, say, correcting equipment it's a little different as the above scenario can't occur; he's a player, so even if he punches a spectators, the team players a player down. So that problem is eliminated.

Which ultimately leaves it as a rather minor technical issue. The argument that some of the panelists put forward is that given this, we don't need to adopt as literal a meaning of 'enters the FOP' here, so we can even accept him taking the TI as a kind of 'implied' entering - essentially, he has permission to rejoin play at a stoppage, which is argued as the key element. And that given it's a technical and rather inconsequential issue, perhaps it's better to just stretch the interpretation of the words as far as we possibly can for the sake of letting the player get on with it.

I accept there could well be some disagreement there - and that's part of what makes these so interesting; even when FIFA referees weigh in on matters there can still be quite a lot of contention. Each referee is a human being and the LOTG are widely open to interpretation after all.

If you choose to adopt the approach that the player returning must step onto the touch line first then I fully respect how that approach fits into the LOTG; I would only suggest that it be managed appropriately; with a smile and a 'just step onto the field first for me, thanks number 5'. As long as the referee doesn't turn it into a big, authoritarian issue then players will forget about it 5 seconds later.

Given that you're expected to check the player's equipment, you should be able to manage this quietly while in close proximity to the player on the touch line without it turning into an issue.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

One of the modern challenges facing the Laws is the imprecise nature of the wording particularly in a world that is looking for certainty or one that is constantly being challenged on legal wording. When the laws mention re-enter what does it mean? Would it be fair to restrict a re-entering player from taking a throw in / corner kick and force him to take a step on to the FOP to then step off again? As mentioned it is not like the substitution procedure where we need to have a defined moment where a substitute becomes a player. Plus the reason a stoppage is required is that a check of the equipment, injury might be required which could require the referee or an assistant to examine the player.
As mentioned the question did provoke much debate. Certainly good referee mechanics might not allow the situation to develop in the first place or indeed uncertainty on the actual timing of events might give a different answer.
Anyway delighted that the question has provoked some debate and research. In essence that is the purpose of paper based questions.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Simon,

hmm perhaps we will change that pay grade status, it refers to authoritative FIFA sources. It is a legitimate argument to ask what makes one more right than another?
It was debated at considerable length by the panel and like you we turn to the laws as they are written and try to piece together a factual answer. Your argument was used almost verbatim as to comparing a player as a substitute who MUST in fact step into the FOP.

It was determined to put this before FIFA referees with ties to the IFAB as well as the FIFA referee committee. There is NO reason for a player off the field of play with permission, who upon given permission to re enter must first cross the boundary line then go out to get the ball, just to leave again to do a throw in or a corner kick restart. You are looking for an exact literal meaning when it is the wording itself causing the misconception. This is not just our panel opinion saying so. this was direct information by the people teaching other FIFA referees, who set the tests and standards. These are the top of the totem pole in the technical arena of refereeing football. It is difficult to maintain any opinion as a fact if one disagrees. One should use due diligence to check on the validity of all information, however, there are none higher than the people who teach me as the actual representatives' of the authoritative FIFA body I answer to.

One is certainly free to choose to disagree but the premise of the referee PERMITTING re entry because it WAS at a stoppage is in fact what the decision is based on. Players are PERMITTED to be off the field as part of the playing movement which in fact MUST occur if they are in fact to be in a position to actually restart from off the field. In essence the player is given permission to rejoin play and to be outside and take the throw in as part of his natural ability for being a player, at the very same time.

Elaborate situations concocted to foster debate or a representative of a true life unusual situation often have an element of doubt or wt???in them. It is also why we state as a volunteer site we are not the final word no matter how hard we try to be correct. You need to seek guidance from your national associations. There are 6 national associations off this panel alone lol

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