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Question Number: 31929

Law 3 - The Players 10/23/2017

RE: AYSO Rec Under 14

Arnie of Oak Park, California Ventura asks...

The other team has a penalty kick. I am allowed to switch goalies, correct? When can I switch back?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Arnie,

FIFA allows substitutions on any stoppage at referee discretion as long as he is informed and you have substitution options available . However, you can switch the keeper with an outfield player at any stoppage if you inform the referee as it is NOT a substitution but a player switch.

So in general yes, you can switch the keeper with an on field player or if there are substitution options a player from off the substitution roster unless the league has a specific policy forbidding substitutions on PKs unless of an injury? The referee must be informed.

If the PK is awarded during live play as a restart it provides time to make the switch but AFTER the PK, if they score or kick it wide, out of play as it will be another restart, a kick off or a goal kick, so you can switch back immediately. If the ball is saved and active play follows you could only switch at your NEXT substitution opportunity or if the ball is out of play and the referee permits it.

I say this because while a player switch is NOT a substitution if the opposition was awarded a FK or a corner kick as a result of active play from the stop of the initial PK they have every right to continue play and not be disadvantaged by you wanting to switch out a keeper just to delay or make a tactical decision.

Although the ultimate key is WITH the permission of the referee at a stoppage!

Some restrictions as to WHEN you can make a substitution could be in place as a bylaw where for example you can not make the switch unless it is YOUR restart option as opposed to the oppositions' or the restart is NOT a free kick.
I have seen some rather interesting bylaws on substitutions as to how many and when or why at the youth or school levels.

Check local guidelines to ensure compliance!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Annie
Yes a team can change goalkeepers at a penalty kick. The change must happened at a stoppage in play and with the permission of the referee.
If the penalty kick is scored then the change back can happen before the kick off. If the kick is missed and play continues the change must wait u til the next natural stoppage.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The rules of competition (ROC) I have seen for youth leagues limiting when substitutions may occur usually do NOT allow a substitute if play is stopped for a foul (and thus the resulting PK). Common limitations are following a goal, at a goal kick, at your own throw-in, sometimes at the other team's throw-in if they also are substituting, and maybe at your own corner kick. These limitations are made in recognition that the leagues are allowing an unlimited number of subs with right of return. Those who make the ROC worry that without limitations, teams may substitute far too often or when an opponent is on a roll, throwing off the flow of the game.

But I've never seen any ROC where they limited when a goalkeeper can switch places with another field player. So two players want to swap, there should be no reason for the referee to not allow it. The new goalkeeper must be properly attired with a uniquely colored uniform of course, and the exiting goalkeeper must switch to regular team colors.

If the players want to swap back later, it must be done at another stoppage in play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Arnie,
AYSO operates under the IFAB's Laws of the Game with some modifications for youth play, so if you want to switch your goalkeeper with an outfield player who is already on the field, this is allowed at any stoppage in play and with the referee's permission.

Since play is stopped for the offence leading to the penalty kick, such a switch could take place before the penalty kick is taken. After the kick is taken, if the ball goes dead again (for example if a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play) the players could switch back straight away but if the ball remains in play then you would have to wait until the next stoppage to switch the players back again.

However, if you want to switch your goalkeeper with a player who was not on the field at the time the penalty was given it appears this would not be allowed unless the penalty happened to coincide with the referee calling for a quarter break or the previous goalkeeper was injured, based on my reading of the AYSO rules on their website and which state:

''Except for injuries, substitution is permitted only at approximately the mid-point of each half upon the referee's stoppage of the game (the ''quarters''), at halftime, and at the start of any overtime periods.''

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