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Question Number: 32015

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/12/2017

RE: Adult

Peter of Dubrovnik, Croatia asks...

If a team had no subs left and the opposing team did a foul that injured a player and left him unable to continue playing, the team with no subs would have to continue with a player less. Would the referee generally issue a red card to the offending team to equalise the game? It seems unfair that a team can injure an opponent knowing that he can't be subbed

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
no one said life was fair!
a referee can only apply the LOTG, he can not unravel true evil if that was the intent of a team to win by such a nefarious method. The red card could only be shown if the referee felt the tackle that did injure was in fact an excessive SFP or a VC action by the perpetrator. To be sure that would go into any match report!

Reduce to equalize is at present only for the KFTPM.

There was some fair play talk at the elite level about if a player is tackled and injured the culprit responsible would be forced to stay out on the touchlines with the injured player until he recovered or was subbed. Or an adaptation of the substitution rules could allow a temporary exchange but nothing definitive ever came of it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
The offender would only be dismissed if the tackle used excessive force and endangered the safety of an opponent.
Now there can be many times when the foul causes a player to twist an ankle, fall awkwardly etc and causes an injury. The caution may be for a reckless foul, a tactical foul, persistent infringement and the referee does not take into account the injury sustained in deciding the sanction nor trying to equate the teams. The laws only allow the principle of reducing to equate in Kicks from the Penalty Mark nowhere else.
A player that makes a nasty excessive force challenge on an opponent will be sanctioned with a red card whether the opponents is able to continue or not.
Personally I can only recall one challenge over a lifetime where I cautioned a player for a challenge that resulted in the player not continuing. He was substituted and I did not base my decision on the injury just on the manner of the challenge. Maybe with hindsight and reflection at the time I should have gone with red yet I made the call before any decision was made on the injury.
Injuries are part of the game and teams need to manage its substitutions to allow for late injuries and not having to play short

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
No, generally a referee would not issue a red card to a player simply to even up the numbers. In fact I would go so far as to say that it would be almost unheard of - and it would certainly be against the laws of the game to do so for that reason.

Whether a player is dismissed should depend entirely on the nature of the offence, not on whether it causes the other team to lose a player. As referee McHugh rightly says, sometimes the most innocuous of incidents can be the ones that cause the worst injuries.

About the only 'fair play' concession that the law makes in this regard is the provision that if a player is injured by an offence resulting in a card, the injured player does not have to leave the field for treatment although I have to say that since this amendment was introduced, I have yet to see it used.

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