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Question Number: 31979

High School 11/2/2017

RE: High School

Dawn Latham of Amissville, VA USA asks...

In a recent high school game in the Delaney Athletic Conference (Virginia) tournament the following happened:

A player on the white team fouled a player on the black team (outside the box). At the same time the ref was told (by the white team's fans) that an extra black team player was left on the field at the substitution that had occurred right before the play leading to the foul.The extra player was not involved in the play and left the field. The ref appeared to call for a black free kick for the foul, but the white team fans yelled that the free kick should go to white because of the extra player. The white team got it. Was this the correct call?

This call occurred in the last 20 seconds of extra time and affected the outcome, so your answer is important.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


The referee was correct. The 12th player on the field violation was the one that is to be penalized because it occurred before the white player foul. Please see 3-1-1 Situation B in the NFHS Rules Book.

Also, the 12th player should have been cautioned (yellow card), and the game restarted from the spot of the ball when play was stopped.

I realize that this is not the answer you were seeking, but, hopefully, it will ease your mind.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dawn ,
Hmm aside from the fact I am unsure if the high school rules for this are different I am not sure how or why fans have input on a neutral referee decision?
However my understanding is black has 12 players on the FOP due to a substitution mix-up when a white player fouls one of the 12 black players not necessary the identified extra 12th player.
As the extra attacker was on the field ahead of the foul the illegal entry should be punished but as the more serious foul is why play was stopped there could be a caution for misconduct. The restart location is one that puzzles me. I suspect it could be on the touchline where the substitutions occur yet the extra player maybe a player who never exited when he was supposed to yet the referee permitted the other one to come in. Generally we do not ALLOW substitutions to occur until the one BEING replaced has 1st exited. I am bothered this is a referee inspired drama rather than a player who entered without permission? That is a cautionable action and is now a DFK from the entry point or where he interfere with play. I do not think the free kick occurs from the point of the foul unless the identified 12th player was the recipient? Yet you lay claim it was a white free kick that was awarded? Was the restart location outside the black teams PA area from the white foul location?? White shot and scored? This seems unseemly? I note our expert on USA high school soccer Joe Manjone stated the white restart should be where the ball was not the foul location? I belive the restart is an INDFK not a DFK as they have yet to decide to match FIFA changes.?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dawn
A simple tenet of the rules is that it is eleven players v eleven. When one team has an extra player that is a rule violation which must be punished.
Now as it is unbeknownst to the referee crew until it was brought to the referees attention the only decision is to punish the offending team which is a caution for the extra player and a restart to the opponents from where the ball was when play was stopped. That decision overturns why the game was stopped which can be a free kick indeed even a penalty kick to the team with 12 players.
In this case the extra player on Black is cautioned, removed from the field of play and as play was already stopped the IDFK to White is from the location of the foul which is where play was already stopped.
Perhaps you feel that as the *extra* player was not involved in play and that it is in someways okay. Unfortunately that is not the case and the rules are clear on this. Poor mechanics led to this situation which is never good. A team though is ultimately responsible for its numbers on the field of play not the referee crew. Had a goal been scored with an extra player the field the goal is disallowed along with the same sanction.

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