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Question Number: 29946

Law 3 - Number of Players 11/29/2015

RE: Other

Amanda of Tampa, Florida Usa asks...

If a player about to be substituted refuses to leave the field of play? Does the ref. caution him, abandon the game, talk to the captain and have him encourage the player to leave, play should be restarted and continues?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Play should be restarted. It's not the ref's problem, it's the team's problem. The Laws of the Game say, 'If a player who is about to be replaced refuses to leave the field of play, play continues'

That player will have an interesting time with the coach and the rest of the team later on.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Amanda,
An obtuse player who refuses to be substituted is going to raise the hackles of any referee, coach or teammate to some degree. Lots of what ifs and possible cardable actions floating around waiting to occur. The truth is we simply try to get on with play!

the substitute only enters the field of play after the player being replaced
has left and after receiving a signal from the referee
A substitute or substituted player is cautioned if he commits any of the
following three offences:
unsporting behaviour
dissent by word or action
delaying the restart of play
The substitute waiting to come on may try to force the issue but the sad fact is he can not do anything except get into trouble

This is what the LOTG state: If a player who is about to be replaced refuses to leave the field of play, play continues!
What you say? No caution? No formal reprimand, just restart play? Chances are we will be having a coach going ballistic, comments and gestures not all which will be thought of as funny or appropriate could be flying in from all over and aggressive posturing or behaviour could well develop.

From a practical perspective I may look to find a reason to convince him to acquiesce to the substitution but if he gets sent off it could only further hurt his team who are already peeved. I think you just respond to the tone and actions he takes as well as those around him and let them hash it out at the half or after the match. I think you will have to be very aware of the things said and done and record the incident in the match report a well as any subsequent actions created by this refusal. Especially if the team TAKING the restart is his team! If they refuse to get on with play, cautions will start being considered! Eventually we could move towards the most goofy of outcomes, to seriously have to consider thinking about abandoning the match over this absurd conduct!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Amanda
If a player refuses to leave on a substitution then the referee simply gets the game restarted. The referee has no control over player substitutions.
In reality if the player indicates that he is not leaving then the referee asks the team with the restart to continue.
Law 3 advice refers
** If a player who is about to be replaced refuses to leave the field of play,
play continues**
I have never seen it happen nor is it likely.

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