Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 30336

Law 3 - Number of Players 4/24/2016

RE: Select Under 19

Bill Mulligan of Guilford, CT United States asks...

White team scores a goal and as AR2 I signal properly that goal is scored. After acknowledgment by the center ref, I lower my head to record time and goal scorer.

I look up to see an Orange team player approaching me in a threatening matter. He is being restrained from behind by a fellow Orange teammate.

The orange player reaches about 5 yards from me and yells 'You better start doing your F***ING job!

I immediately raise my flag and yell for the center referees attention, while tapping my back pocket. At this point, the orange player immediately starts to jog back to his bench to substitute out.

After conferring with the center ref, the center ref issues a red card to the orange player WHO IS SITTING ON THE BENCH.

At the restart of play, the center referee starts with 11 v 11 players. I get his attention to ask why and he says that because the player was already substituted out, EVEN THOUGH THE INFRINGEMENT WAS DURING THE COURSE OF PLAY, the play should continue as 11 v 11.

I thought that since play had NOT restarted when the red card had been given, the play should continue as 11 v 10. However I did not argue as it is the center referee's call.

Was 11 vs. 11 at the restart correct?

Thanks for your advice.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bill
The question to answer this is whether the correct substitution procedure was followed or not.
If the player was substituted and left the field of play with the substitute entering then the team does no play short as the substitution has been completed.
If however the player did not leave the field of play and he committed the OFFINABUS as he was walking / running off then his team would play short.
As described in your situation it is highly unlikely that the player had managed to leave the FOP on a substitution seconds after a goal and then managed to return to berate an official. However if the substitution procedure was laxed and did not follow the set down procedure situations like this can and do arise
It is for this very reason that the procedure is clearly defined so there is a clear distinction between a player, a substitute and a substituted player and the timing of the change connected to the procedure.
A team plays short if a player is sent off. It does not play short if a substitute or a substituted players is sent off.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I suspect you may have been using 'relaxed' substitution mechanics. The players saw the game was stopped for the goal and requested entry, and the ref allowed it. Refs often do this in games with unlimited substitution with right of reentry, to 'speed things up.'

Yes, it would take a couple seconds longer to do it correctly, to have players off the field before the subs are allowed on. (I agree it would take longer until teams are used to the idea, but eventually it would be nearly as fast as long as players don't lolly-gag getting off the field.)

The problem with lax mechanics is your situation. The substitute-turned-player was probably already on the field, which is why the ref considered your abuser to be a non-player.

That said, I used the relaxed procedure for 16 years in our youth leagues, and ran into problems only once or twice - nothing having to do with players being sent off, since that's so rare in the youth games. I didn't like it, knowing that there was the potential for problems. But that's the way everyone did it, and without an edict from on high I wasn't going to be able to change it. When in Rome ...

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Since you may referee high school soccer, I thought that I would mention that for a substitute to become a player and a player the substitute, an official must beckon in the substitute. In the situation you mentioned, if the referee did not beckon in the substitute, the player that could the red card would still be a player even though the player had departed the field, and his team would have to play short.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30336
Read other Q & A regarding Law 3 - Number of Players

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.