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Question Number: 31022

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/15/2016

RE: Amateur Adult

George of Parangarecutirimicuaro, CA Sacratomato asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31017

As I read question 31017, it takes me back a couple of years to a specific sequence of events in an adult match where I was an AR. At the beginning of the second half, Blue striker is extremely frustrated he is not being involved in the game. On one particular play, striker finds himself wide open but is ignored by his teammates. Since they were down 2 to 0, he storms off the field clearly upset. Another teammate (midfielder) storms off the field with him while taking his shirt off. CR cautions the player who took his shirt off. Since play was stopped to caution the player who took off his shirt, the referee allowed the lone substitute available to enter the field of play with the understanding that the other two players were on their way to the parking lot.

I find myself wondering, when do you caution a player that is clearly storming off the field and has no intention of coming back? Do you still consider both of these players on the goal line since they exited near midfield? Since it was two players walking off the pitch without the referees permission, is the touch line our offside position? Was this a legal substitution? What happens if any or both players decide the want to come back?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George,
ah yes the temperamental antics of the disillusioned and unsatisfied. Sigh.
Just a brief observation, players who dart off the touchline, it is that exit point which becomes the offside line, if they are considered as the 2nd last opponent! Once play was stopped then offside is reset.

When players go off the rail, the referee is confronted by the actual situation and likely initiates the LOTG that are applicable. As it becomes clear these guys are simply leaving the venue there is no discernable merit in say red carding them as players thus preventing further substitutions to make up the numbers. If we declare them as off the FOP with your tact approval you can consider their antics as non players rather then hurt the team further. We can certainly caution for leaving the FOP without permission and or the shirt removal as possible dissent but to what end? To allow a substitution in the wake of such churlish behaviour is certainly within the referee discretion given he has not yet sent them off . It is always conceivable their antics might give you little choice but to go double yellow to red but in recreational play we hardly find the harshest measures to punish guys just trying to play a match and have some fun runaround time!
If they leave and have NOT burned the bridge of no return and the team actually wants them to we would do our best to accommodate but 2 cautions = red and if already cautioned its still goodbye on the red sleigh of shame should they decide to get peevish once again.!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
Thankfully it does not happen too often
Lets deal with the offside part first. The player if he leaves at a touchline is positioned on the touchline at his location for offside purposes. If he has clearly left the game with no intention of continuing to play then IMO he should be ignored for offside purposes
In respect of the player leaving the field of play without permission my advice is to only deal with players that are or intend to be part of play. Bothering about a player that has stormed off with no further interest in the game is futile and in fact could be a safety concern for the referee. If a team wants to substitute the player then by all means allow it. As soon as the substitute enters the leaving player is no longer a player but a substituted player.
If the player that has stormed off and is not substituted then decides to return the referee should caution him at that time for leaving the FOP without permission. Indeed if the player did not seek permission to re-enter and he gets involved immediately in play then that could be a second caution and a dismissal.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

If the ref cautioned one, he should have cautioned both. Taking off the shirt has no bearing on this situation. That only applies when celebrating a goal.

That said, I agree with my colleagues that this could be addressed without cautions, unless the players come back.

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

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