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Question Number: 31622

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/26/2017

RE: Competitive Adult

Jack of Sydney, New South Wales Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31617

In the previous answer regarding a substitute using committing violent conduct while the ball is in play, I wanted to clarify an apparent conflict between your answers and Law 12, Section 4 (

Answers to (a) and (d) appear to align with this section of the Laws. However, the answer to (b) (the case where a substitute uses violent conduct against a player off the field) was given as perhaps an indirect free kick in your answers. The Law states:

'If, when the ball is in play ... a substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official commits an offence against, or interferes with, an opposing player or match official outside the field of play, play is restarted with a free kick on the boundary line nearest to where the offence/interference occurred; a penalty kick is awarded if this is a direct free kick offence within the offenders penalty area.'

This appears to indicate that if a substitute commits a direct free kick offence (which striking / kicking / etc. with excessive force is), the restart would always be a direct free kick on the nearest boundary line.

In (c) (the case where a substitute used violent conduct against a substitute or team official outside of the field of play), your answer was indirect free kick.

However, I cannot see in Law 12, Section 4 where this is stated. It states that it would be a direct free kick if an offence was committed by a substitute against a player, or a player against a substitute, but not a substitute against a substitute. Due to this case not being listed here, I am led to believe that this restart should be a dropped ball, since the restart is not listed elsewhere in the Laws.

Is there another part of the Laws from where you've sourced your answers that I've missed, or am I right in assuming that Law 12, Section 4 prescribes a DFK on the nearest boundary line for (b), and prescribes no specific restart (therefore a dropped ball from where the ball was when play was stopped) for (c)?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jack
As I stated in my answer the Law was somewhat unclear here and woolly which made some of the answers somewhat difficult. Recent updates in June have also now to be taken into consideration
My answer to the question was that in B if the player was participating in play it was a direct free kick restart on the boundary line and if the player was off the field of play with permission say for an injury treatment it was an IDFK from where the ball was when play was stopped. The first part is certainly okay with the DFK part wheras the 2nd part was not so clear hence the opinion of the unstated Law 12 offence being the default of an IDFK. I gave that 2nd part of the answer on the basis of how the incident is likely to unfold. Once the sub gets involved in *play* with a player the DFK is the stated answer whereas the player who is legally off the FOP with play elsewhere would play be brought back to the boundary line for a DFK or rather a free kick from where the ball was when play was stopped? The recent stated amendment makes it clear that it is a direct free on the boundary line although that principle did not sit well with me given that play always resumed on the FOP where the offence occurred or where the ball was which includes where the players are. Anyway IFAB has confirmed a DFK on the boundary line.
Now in respect of C I believe that on reflection the answer is a dropped ball and that has been confirmed by IFAB by way of a recent email reply. I was of the opinion that VC is a serious offence and that where it says that restarting with a dropped ball sent out the wrong signal my view was that the offending team needed to be censured with the restart of a free kick from where the ball was when play was stopped rather than the DB. The advice as well is not to play advantage on VC except in a goal scoring opportunity so that option is rarely available.
What this all points to is that in a game situation it is very likely that outlier situations such in B & C as this will be incorrectly called by referees. Only those referees that take the time to study the changes and learn will get them correct or on reflection be uncertain.

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