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Question Number: 30270

Law 3 - Number of Players 4/9/2016

RE: 7 High School

Patrick of Palm Desert, Ca usa asks...

What is the sanction & restart for a substitute who takes a throw in without entering the field of play first ?.
Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Patrick,
No sanction. I wouldn't even consider this to be an incorrectly taken throw in, given that I believe it's implied that it's a player taking the throw.
Is it the case that it's a substitute who is coming onto the field, the player has left, and he's just taken the throw? If so, stop play, have him step on at halfway, then he can take the throw. I know it seems pedantic - but this is why proactive refereeing is better. If you can see he's preparing to take the throw, blow the whistle first, and ask him to step on at halfway. He might be confused, but if you handle it in a pleasant manner the substitute will normally comply without a fuss.

If it's a scenario where the ball went out near the bench and a substitute just took the throw in, perhaps trying to be funny or seeing if he can get away with it, then he could be cautioned for delaying the restart of play. At a bare minimum I'd want to have a stern word with him.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


As indicated in NFHS Rule 18-1-cc on page 70: 'A substitute becomes a player when he/she is beckoned onto the field of play by an official.' It is the beckoning, not the entering of the field that changes the status of the substitute to player. Thus, in the situation that you describe and the substitute has been beckoned by an official, the substitute is no longer a substitute and is now a player, and can take the throw-in. This change of status is especially important when a caution is given to a player. Make certain that the cautioned player has exited the field and is not causing additional problems before beckoning in the substitute. Sometimes a cautioned player will dissent the caution and a second caution resulting a disqualification will occur. Once the substitute is beckoned to come onto the field for the cautioned player, the substitute becomes a player and the player now becomes a team member (non-player). A disqualification of a player requires the team to play with one less player while the disqualification of a team member does not result in a reduction of players. Thank you for asking this question about change of substitute-player status. It is an important rule that all high school officials need to understand. I hope that you are having a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Patrick
There is an NFHS answer and a different FIFA answer. In a FIFA game the substitute has to step on top the field of play to become a player. Only players can participate in play so the substitution mechanics are important to ensure the substitution is correctly made. The referee should prevent this happening by insisting that the player enters at the halfway line not down the touchline. Should it happen play should not be allowed to restart. If it does happen play should be stopped and the substitution properly completed. The restart is still a throw in.
In a NFHS game Referee Manjone has given the detail. The substitute once beckoned on by the referee becomes a player in which case he can take the throw in without stepping across the touchline. Again the challenge is to ensure that there cannot be any misconduct by the exiting player while on the field of play otherwise the team could play short if the exciting player is cautioned twice while still a player.
The two codes have the same principle behind why the substitutions are managed in those ways which is to determine who is a player and who is a substitute / substituted player. They are just executed differently.

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