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Question Number: 32567

Law 3 - The Players 7/3/2018

RE: Rec Under 11

George of Parangarecutirimicuaro, CA Sacratomato asks...

Player goes down in a heated game. Center stops play and summons the coach to attend the player on the ground. Parents from the other team insist the player must abandon the field of play since the coach was summoned.

Which law supports this? Or what is the correct call?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi George,
The law that supports this is Law 5. It doesn't actually cover the exact scenario you describe, that of a coach attending to an injured player but it does establish the principle that an injured player who requires treatment must leave the field of play by saying:

''the referee: [...] stops play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play. [...]
if the referee has authorised the doctors and /or stretcher bearers to enter the field of play, the player must leave on a stretcher or on foot.''

Now obviously, in a rec level game you will not have team doctors (normally) nor stretcher bearers but the principles are clear that if a player is seriously enough injured for play to be stopped and a person or persons are authorised to come on to attend to the injured player, that player must leave the field of play. The law also says that a player may not actually receive any treatment while on the field of play but that stipulation is not universally observed.

The only times an injured player does not have to leave the field for treatment are the following:

''a goalkeeper is injured
a goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need attention
players from the same team have collided and need attention
a severe injury has occurred
a player is injured as the result of a physical offence for which the opponent is cautioned or sent off (e.g. reckless or serious foul challenge), if the assessment/treatment is completed quickly''

In the case of 'severe injury' the exception is to the player being allowed to receive treatment on the field of play, it does not exempt them from having to leave the field after treatment - and usually, if the injury is severe, they would need to leave the field anyway, either to receive further treatment or to change their equipment in case of a blood injury.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
This is spelt out clearly in the Laws of the Game as outlined by Referee Grove. Once the coach is beckoned on to the field of play to deal with an injury the player must leave the field of play in all instances except for the five exemption permitted in the Laws.
Now I enforce this strictly at all levels of the game including Underage. It trains the players that going down injured has the consequence of leaving the field of play. I also make a point of saying to the physio / coach that once the player is fit to return please let me know and I will call him back on. That fitness to continue decision firmly rests with the team officials and the request to return is confirming the decision by them not the referee.
If I was asked why I allowed a concussed player to continue or a player with a serious injury I can point to the fact that I asked for the player to be removed from the FOP and the fitness to continue decision was not mine but rather the teams.
I recall in a game I had a young player who went down three or four times injured and on each occasion I asked the coach to remove him which he did. Each time the coach sent him back on. Eventually the boys father had to intervene to prevent his son continuing. The focus of the decision of the player continuing to play clearly was with the coach rather than myself. I had done what was asked of me which was to remove the player for treatment and the decision to continue was made by the request to return. The parent had no gripe with me as I removed the player each time.

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