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Question Number: 32169

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/15/2018

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32167

One additional question please.

Laws tell:* If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against:
# an opponent - indirect or direct free kick or penalty kick
# a team-mate, substitute, substituted or sent off player, team official or a match official - a direct free kick or penalty kick
# any other person - a dropped ball**

Question: Ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against: SUBSTITUTE, SUBSTITUTED, SENT OFF PLAYER and TEAM OFFICIAL.

How is it possible that these people are on the pitch when the ball is in play? Thanks!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
There can be times when a substitute, substituted, sent off players and a team official end up on the field of play illegally. It can be an incorrect substitution, an extra player sneaks on, encroachment on to the field of play etc. A vigilant referee crew will ensure that does not happen or yet it does occur from time to time.
Now one of the significant changes made to the Laws in 2016 was the statement that soccer would expect that when several offences occur at the same time, the most serious is penalised.   Deciding which offence is the most serious will depend on:  
# Disciplinary sanction   –   e.g. sending-‐off  offence  (RC) is more serious than a cautionable (YC) offence  
# Restart  –  a  direct free kick offence is more serious than an indirect free kick offence  
# Nature of the foul   –   a foul tackle is more serious than handball or shirt pulling  
# Tactical  impact   – an  offence which stops an opponent's attack is more important than one which ends a player's own team attack.
Now the offence is going to be extremely rare yet there could be the type of situation where say a substitute runs on to the field of play and he is kicked violently by an opponent for his action before play was stopped for the illegal entry. The Laws expect that the offender is sent off for violent conduct, the substitute cautioned for entering the FOP and that rather than an IDFK to the team whose player is guilty of violent conduct it is a direct free kick to the substitute' team based on the more serious offence being punished. IFAB opined that the punishment for an offence against another participant reflects the seriousness of such an action with soccer sending out a weak/poor message if the more serious offenders team benefits from the restart.
It is not something that is going to challenge referees very often yet it is there in case it is required.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
It is possible because people do things that they're not supposed to. The IFAB recently tightened up on and clarified what should happen in situations where a person associated with a team but who is not a player comes on to the pitch. As was stated in the 'Details of all Law changes' section of the 2016-17 Laws:

''There is a growing problem of substitutes/team officials entering the field ...''

Since this is occurring more often, the chance of an offence being committed against a person who has entered the field is obviously increased. As ref McHugh says, the chance of this happening is still relatively slight but as it exists, the provision is there to cover it in case it does.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
people can not seem to stop doing stupid stuff for whatever reason one cares to attribute to foolish or irresponsible behaviour.

The LOTG were recently changed to address this goofy behaviour be it those within the technical areas or nearby fans along the touchlines from interrupting the match.

They decided to place a greater degree of accountability by changing the restarts of what was once only a form of misconduct with drop ball & INDFKs to the more dangerous restarts of a DFK or PK as a greater deterrent to getting involved.

The use of cards for players and or subs along with sending off and the expulsions, fines, bans or jail time for the illegal actions of others. A more serious approach to be sure but over emotive players, fans coaches parents even officials etc.. all create mayhem by not acting responsibly.

The LOTG do make it possible for players to exit the FOP during a match creating conditions to which they could interact with those off or on the pitch as the ball remains in play.

A player can not decided to react violently or irresponsibly just because an opposing official , sub or fan decides to wander into the FOP.

Let the referee handle the culprits .

To get involved you are risking VC and send off, reducing your team a player risking fines or even charges no matter how outraged you are at their actions .

The referee CAN be allowing an advantage or ignoring a trifling incident should a non player step into the FOP during the match. Be it accidentally as a fan trying to look around the AR in a crowed small field, or a frustrated coach or technical official or sub on the bench upset at an incident and actually coming on to the FOP during ongoing play to have a say is an idiot but emotions , feelings of unfairness and even desperation can cause people to do ugly things!

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