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Question Number: 32331

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 3/24/2018

RE: Rec Under 16

Andrew of Wilmington, North Carolina Usa asks...


I was center ref during a rec game today. During play, the AR raised his flag. I stopped the game thinking it was offside. He notified me one of the players who had just substituted into the game didn't have shin guards on. Two questions: 1. Should I have yellow carded the player for improper equipment? 2. What should have been the restart? A dropped ball?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Andrew,
There's no caution required for missing equipment. I know some local associations have implemented a local directive or policy stating that it is a mandatory caution, and if that's required then so be it - but it's not required under the laws.
You'd tell the player to leave the field until the equipment is corrected. As you'll need to check this, he won't be returning until there's a stoppage in play.

The restart would be a dropped ball, as you're stopping play for any other reason. If, however, you were issuing a card then it would be an IFK restart to the opposing team.

Generally speaking it's important to check the equipment of substitutes coming onto the field. If there are limited subs, then this absolutely must be done. If you have a Neutral AR, they can do it (but do it yourself if you're closer). If a CAR, then this is one you to do. Run over to halfway to manage the substitution, check equipment and note numbers.

If it's a game with unlimited substitutions, interchange, rolling subs, or whatever it's called in your area then I'd argue that becomes a bit more difficult - as these games can easily have 20 or 30 changes in a match, I think spending time to check every interchange is not beneficial to the game, so if that's the case then I'd say don't worry about it - although if you or the NAR is close to halfway, then take the extra effort to manage it.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andrew,
1. There is no need to caution the player. The law merely says:

''For any offence play need not be stopped and the player is instructed by the referee to leave the field of play to correct the equipment leaves when play stops, unless the equipment has already been corrected.''

2. The restart should be a dropped ball.

However I would add a third point, that the situation should not normally arise as the player's equipment should have been checked before they entered the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew,
Short answer
no card needed, drop ball, ensure equipment malfunction is rectified before allowing the player to re-enter.

Some additional thoughts
a key point in gaining experience is to remember not to repeat the mistakes we learn from be it our own or from another.

In a post game review if we were assessing the situation what questions do you think would be asked? Here we have a player who enters the FOP without proper equipment.

Was there a check of all the players before hand?
Was he included or not? Was there an issue then?
If he did remove his shin guards after or was missed somehow when he showed up to substitute did it occur at center under the instruction of the 4th (if there was one) or the AR in charge at that side?

Were substitution protocols followed?
(All subs at center , before a stoppage in play, waiting for the CR permission ONLY after the player they replace has exited the FOP? )

The CR will signal & have final say but these assistants are there to ensure compliance and the players answer to their commands as well. If either a 4th or AR noted the equipment malfunction they should not permit the substitution to occur.

Now the AR signal to stop play by raising the flag to indicate a player equipment malfunction.
Was there a pregame discussion about AR duties?
This is likely a learning experience for the ARs involved as well. Most national associations train the AR and CR in how to interact as a unit with clear commands and signals . It is not the easiest thing in the world to remember everything at once .

Note the LOTG states ''For any offence play need not be stopped and the player is instructed by the referee to leave the field of play to correct the equipment leaves when play stops, unless the equipment has already been corrected.''

Take that last bit,
unless the equipment has already been corrected.'' The AR could simply call him over and say fix that. I did a u-21 ladies match where the thrower had earrings on. I allowed the throw but made her take off the earrings before I let her to renter play. ARs are there to assist the referee they are in fact referees themselves . Yes the CR has final say but ARs are not powerless drones along the touchline. There is a slight chance of PIADM where a shin guard-less player could in theory be guilty of going into a challenge where the official is aware of the problem. Once ordered off to fix the equipment the player MUST comply and CAN NOT take part in further play. THIS is where he could earn a card if he does not do what he was told! I recall a goofy u-18 boys match where the player holding his shin guards in his hands was chasing the ball to put it out of play AFTER he was told to exit the FOP by the referee to fix his equipment.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
The answer is in a Law 4 which tells us that play continues until the next stoppage and the player is asked to correct the equipment by leaving the FOP. The player must then wait until another stoppage for the correction of equipment to be checked. There is no requirement for a caution. If play is stopped to deal with this the restart is a dropped ball.
Two points jumps out at me.
1. Clearly the equipment check was not properly carried out as that is where it needs to be picked up and dealt with.
2. The flag obviously resulted in play being stopped which is not required in Law. The AR should have waited until the ball was out of play and the restart issue would not have arisen. Had the flag interfered with a goal or an attack that is not a good place to be. The pre match should discuss what the AR should be flagging for and equipment is not one of them.

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