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Question Number: 31654

Law 3 - The Players 7/24/2017

RE: Adult

mark rich of royalton, vermont usa asks...

I am sorry if I got your reply wrong. I complained about substituted players walk off the field slowly ( More slowly then you or I walk down the street! I believe you explained ' they maybe using up the clock' near the end of the game As if this is not unsportsmen like conduct. You said nothing about them 'sauntering' off in the middle of the game -while 80,000 fans-and thousands watching T V WAIT! & WAIT! This should at least a verbal criticism by the ref or a yellow card. WHY do you think it is Ok to walk slowly 20 maybe 60 yards off. It is disrespectful to fansand Maybe braking up the momentum of the apposing team. 'JOG !' Please explain why YOU approve . In that 30 seconds the ball might be played 100 yards ,maybe even a goal. ----- I know of NO OTHER sport that this self indulgent performance takes place. Pleas name me one or two. U.S. football-basket ball,hockey rugby - NO! Why is this excepted in the greatest of all sports ? Why do you personally OK it? Regards Mark

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mark
We certainly do not approve yet there can be all sorts of reasons some of which are genuine and some which are not as to why it happens. There are plenty of *gripes* that we all have which annoy us in the game. I have many one of which is the player that is clearly injured yet who can walk yet chooses to sit down on the the field so that a substitute can be prepared with the team not having to play short for any period. I watched such a situation last year in a game where the player pulled his hamstring in the penalty area, walked to the centre circle and sat down. When the physio was called on it gave his team sufficient time to prepare a sub. Now when a somewhat similar situation happened in the second half the referee tried to intervene by not allowing treatment on the FOP, trying to get the player removed quickly and it turned nasty between the player, physio and the referee. Many referees do not want that to happen so they do their best to manage it within what is expected by those in the game. FIFA at the highest level have stretcher bearers to remove players quickly yet that is rarely used below that level except for serious injuries. Issuing cards can undermine the referees control and respect.
The accepted method for dealing with this is to add on the time lost and to encourage players to leave quickly which does happen. Yes not all referees encourage the player to move quicker and while those that do the players may test their patience.
So my view is that the substitution process mechanism needs to be improved and therein lies the problem. In sports where the visible clock stops it is less of a problem. Hopefully some of the changes that are being talked about to improve fair play will look at this area of injuries, substitutions and timing.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

In high school games, if this type of behavior is taking place, because the clock is running and no time can be added, the referee is to stop the clock and verbally warn the player and the team coach. If the incident occurs again. the player or coach can be cautioned for delay. Players are expected to hurry on and off the field. You are correct about this type of behavior not occurring in most sports. As a baseball umpire, I have seen it occur in baseball, but not as frequently as in soccer.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mark,
There is no indication of approval that I can see in the previous answers you refer to. However there was an attempt to point out that you seemed to be ascribing reasons to this kind of behaviour (that the players doing this are simply seeking attention) that is probably not the real reason behind it.

I think it can be safely said that nobody with the game's best interests in mind, thinks this kind of behavior is all fine and dandy. On the other hand it is hardly the most serious problem facing the modern game and I'm not sure it is something that should engender the level of animus that your questions evince.

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