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Question Number: 33235

Law 3 - The Players 4/11/2019

RE: Rec Under 13

Scott Cooper of Allen, TX USA asks...

Hi, I had called for a pk after defender handled the ball inside the penalty area. The keeper and one of the defenders on the field start switching gear so the defender could take the PK as a GK, effectively creating a substitution. My thinking at the time was this was a substitution not listed as a normal stoppage to substitute, just like a DFK but in the penalty area and I did not allow the change. As I talk shop with my peers, some thought it was fine to swap, so, searching for help. Was it ok for those 2 to swap, and a follow up, could a coach ask for a Gk substitution off the bench. Should be same thing, but, perhaps not.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
Any field player can take on the role of goalkeeper at any time provided the referee is informed and it is done at a stoppage in play. The switch should have been allowed as there was a stoppage in play, the referee was informed and it was not a substitution just a swap of roles.
Put it like this. Say a goalkeeper is injured / hurt in the penalty offence incident and he cannot continue. What would happen! The team has to be allowed to put a player in goal either a substitute, provided it has not used all its substitutes, or an outfield player. If it had no substitutions available an outfield player would have to put on the goalkeeper jersey and take on the role of goalkeeper.
We also know that every eventuality must work in all instances in Law so if it is okay in the example I outlined it must all work in others including a requested change.
Now there can be competition rules that do not allow substitutions at certain times. Common sense has to prevail as well in the case of enforced substitutions through injury to a goalkeeper.



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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Scott,
while your decision was unfortunately a mistake, knowing now that you should have permitted it is how you learn from experience.
I suppose it does not really matter why but often in youth soccer, talented athletic kids are good at any number of positions due to exceptional reflexes and coordination so the striker who scores can often be the best keeper they have.
What we have is a SWITCH it is NOT a SUBSTITUTION!
The LOTG permit an outfield player to switch places with the keeper provided it is done at a stoppage and the referee is notified.
A keeper is in fact, but one, of the 11 players.
The LOTG only ask we designate one player from each team as the keeper, it does not matter which of the 11 as long as they are identified because THEY can use their hands when no one else can.
If there is a stoppage for a PK, the ROC (rules of the competition) might have a bylaw preventing this as a substitution opportunity. Yet if say the keeper feigned or actually was injured, if there was a substitution opportunity we would allow it! If the team has NOT used up all its substitution options but generally at the youth level it is unlimited!
Cheers



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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Scott,
There is a specific section of the laws that addresses this situation. It is part of Law 3 - The Players, and goes as follows:

''CHANGING THE GOALKEEPER
Any of the players may change places with the goalkeeper if:
- the referee is informed before the change is made
- the change is made during a stoppage in play''

So in the scenario you describe, the change should have been allowed. As my colleagues have pointed out, this is not a substitution, just a change of position/role for two of the players.



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