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Question Number: 33689

Law 3 - The Players 10/3/2019

RE: Competitive Under 19

David A Bermingham of Herndon, VA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33685

If this were to occur in a match with unlimited substitutions the answer may be a bit less straightforward since I don't know of any official who keeps track of the active players by number in these types of matches. Unless the players haven't yet left the field or for some reason that individual sticks in your mind as having been on the field at the end of the half, you won't know for certain if you are dismissing a player, substitute or substituted player. Only in the first instance would the team play down a player at the start of the second half. In the latter instances the team would just have one less available sub. If you guess the offender's status and are somehow provably wrong it could be protested, unless the rules of competition give some level of ITOOR-type cover. Correct?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
Yes good point and it shows up one of vagaries of unlimited substitutions and the referee keeping a track of same.
In the absence of certainty by the referee he has to consider what to do. If he is certain it was a player on the field of play before half time then the team plays short. If he is unsure with perhaps no independent confirmation such as an assistant he has to decide whether to take the word of the team or not.
If there is no confirmation either way with the team claiming he was substituted then that has to be accepted. Depending on how the situation unfolded the opponents might just think it was a substitution. If it was violent conduct between two players with one team playing short then they will have an opinion as to whether the player was on the FOP or not. In which case for me both teams play short.
I suppose participation is key at Underage so with unlimited substitutions players get more game time with 11 rather than 10.
We know what the technical answer is yet getting to the actual decision may prove to be more difficult. I would say that unless there was unrefutable evidence to contradict the referees decision then no protest is possible.



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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi David,
the LOTG allow for unlimited substitutions in a youth match. Given there is no documented way to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt in these cases a one less available substitute is probably the preferred route than to render a short handed verdict. That said, if it WAS crystal clear and in your opinion he was a player, I do not believe there is an avenue to protest without conclusive proof to the contrary because the opinion of a neutral referee on a fact of play is sacrosanct .
Cheers



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