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Question Number: 30023

Law 3 - Number of Players 1/16/2016

RE: Adult

Nick Wilson of Livingston, Scotland asks...

Ref has awarded a free kick. Defending team wants to make a substitution. Ref indicates ok. Player leaving the game takes ages to walk off. Ref looks around, sees player leaving the pitch still only half way to side line. Ref blows whistle to restart play, defending team try to defend but attacking team score. Ref awards goal. Defending team complain, ref consults 4th official. Ref disallows goal and orders retake after allowing substitution to take place. Is this the correct outcome and if so why?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nick
Poor mechanics has got the referee into this pickle yet he has made the correct decision. Play should not have restarted until the substitution process had been fully and correctly completed. As described the referee made an error by restarting play as he had assumed the substitution had been completed. I suspect the 4th official advised the referee that it was not completed so the only possible decision was to complete the substitution and restart with the original free kick.
If this was being observed the referee would have been marked fiend significantly for this error in mechanics. The referee should have observed that the incoming player had not entered and as a result play should not restart. It is also good practise and fair play to wait until the substitute has assumed his position for the restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Nick,
under the LOTG, once a referee has acknowledged there WILL BE A SUBSTITUTION play should not restart until the substitution is completed. The fact it was a defender the referee could have cautioned the lollygagger for his lack of respect in not hustling off in a timely fashion. stopped time as well. Adding time and cautions are the tools at a referee disposal when players drag their fee. A simple request, Lets hustle off please' solves most situations only obtuse players needlessly push the referee irritation button.
My colleague is most correct in advancing the proposition a referee will be hung drawn and quartered in post game review! Managing a match is often fraught with pitfalls no reason to dig your own!

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