Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33762

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/8/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

David Rosenblatt of Encino, California United States asks...

A Blue Team player has a breakaway, with only the Red Team goalkeeper between the Blue Team player and the goal. Suddenly a Red Team substitute runs onto the field and makes a careless tackle from behind, bringing down the Blue Team player before he can shoot. The Blue Team player is shown the red card for depriving an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Does the Blue Team then play the game with 10 or 11 players? What is the proper restart?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI David ,
although there is no reduction to the number of players on the FOP the substitute is sent off and cannot participate. This will only reduce the number of available substitutes on the bench not the number of substitution opportunities .

As to punishment for the dastardly deed!
If the substitute had simply kicked the ball away, DOGSO ,red card, send him to the showers & restart wit DFK or Pk. However, you mentioned he tackled with contact? For me that could reach VC (violent conduct) consideration, because there is no ability to legally challenge for that ball, so it is in effect, an attack against a player. I lean VC rather than DOGSO because it usually carries greater penance when it comes to discipline . Perhaps I am overly harsh but in my match no way you get a free shot at a player when you have no right to be on the field at all!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi David,
If a substitute is sent off, the team does not play short. Ask yourself - how is it equitable and fair to send off two individuals, for the actions of just one? On a practical level how could you choose which one of the actual players to send off, when none of them has committed a sending-off offence?

The restart is a direct free kick or penalty, depending on location.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
As it is a substitute that committed the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity the team does not play short.
The restart depends on where the offence took place. If it happened inside the penalty area it is a penalty kick. If it happened outside it is a direct free kick.
Have a look at these two videos
In the first video it was the actions of a spectator that denied the goal so he is considered an outside agent and nothing can be done other than the person is removed from the ground. The restart is a dropped ball in the penalty area. Fair Play would suggest to me that Blue should fix the situation but that is if no concern to the referee.
In the second one as the physio is on the team sheet he is dismissed and shown a red card and the restart is a penalty kick. At that time before the law change it was a dropped ball restart on interference by technical staff and it was situations like that the Law was changed.
Here is another video
This video shows the unintended consequences of the new law and substitutes, team officials interfering with play.
The referee correctly cautioned the substitute for his action and the restart was a penalty kick. One can argue that the ball was going wide so the sanction was harsh yet the law is clear in that if a substitute interferes with play on the field of play the player is sanctioned according to the offence and the restart is a direct free kick or penalty kick. Had the substitute denied a goal or goal scoring opportunity inside the penalty area it would have been a red card and also a penalty kick.
So unlike a player on the field of play when a penalty is awarded in a genuine attempt to play the ball, a player, sent-off player, substitute or substituted player who enters the field of play without the required referees permission and interferes with play or an opponent and denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is guilty of a sending-off offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33762
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.