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Question Number: 29392

Law 3 - Number of Players 5/9/2015


Steven Watson of ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND asks...


Our keeper got injured yesterday in normal time so we replaced him with an outfield player as we has no sub goalie on the bench. The match then went to penalties. Before the shoot out started we changed goalie again with an outfield player already on the pitch when final whistle went. The referee said it was ok but the opposition wasn't happy. Can you confirm this is ok.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
If a team wishes to change the goalkeeper at any time with an outfield player on the field of play that can be done as long as it is done at a stoppage and that the referee is informed. So no problem for an outfield player to go into goal for Kicks from the Penalty Mark. Just does not happen very often. It does happen at Underage where perhaps a bigger player is put into goal for KFTPM or the regular goalkeeper was playing outfield during the game.
Now when you say replaced by an outfield player do you mean by one of the team or by a substitute. If the *injured* goalkeeper was not substituted simply removed from the game with the team playing short then he can come back on. If he was substituted and replaced by a substitute then he cannot take any further part in the game. The most common example is where a player gets medical stitches and is not substituted with the team playing short for a period. That process can take time and the player can return when complete and he feels able to participate.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Anyone who is a field player at the end of the match may participate in the kicks from the penalty match phase as the goal keeper.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Steve,
nothing for the opposition to get upset about, you have every right to exchange the keeper with ANY of the other ten players already on the pitch when the final whistle sounded.

My colleague's Ref McHugh concern that your meaning of an ...outfield player... was a substitute on the touchlines as outside into touch.
If you replaced your keeper due to injury with one of the ten on the field earlier and were only playing with 9 players, plus the one of whom takes the place of the keeper, your team is reduced by one. You have not ...substituted... thus if your keeper received treatment and could return later in the match to make 11 on the pitch.

Or if you ...wanted to substitute .. to ensure you had 11 on the pitch then your keeper could not return once you substituted a player in off the bench UNLESS you had unlimited subs as they usually do in youth. Likely at semi pro you are 3 or 5 only and its once out, your out.

If you have NOT used all your substitution options and still had 1 left at the match end and your current keeper in goal ...was injured... it is the only time you could in fact legally substitute once the match is finished and KFTPM have begun. Otherwise no player sitting on the bench at the match end could come in to do so.


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