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You Call It Q&A's - January 6, 2000

MrRef 1/6/2000

You Call It Q&A's - January 6, 2000
You are the assistant referee. You have come to the halfway line to witness a substitution authorized by the center referee. The player coming off the field is upset about being taken out of play. You hear him grumbling as he comes off the field. When he gets completely off the field you see him spit toward the coach in protest of the substitution. The center ref then calls for the substitute to come on to the field. What's Your call...




Answer submitted by Pat Adamson of Royal Palm Beach Florida, USA


AR should put flag straight up and "wiggle" slightly to get the attention of the center official in order to explain what was seen. The spitting incident, as described, warrents a red card and send-off for the guilty player. Since the substitute was not yet beckoned onto the field, the person commiting the misconduct was still a player and may NOT be substituted for (team will have to play down). The restart will be what ever it would have been had the foul not occurred.

Answer submitted by John Hernandez of ADELAIDE South Australia, Australia


Signal to the centre referee to come over and tell him what you had witnesed. The centre Referee would both report the offending player for violent conduct.(send-off) The offending player has an early shower in the change rooms. Both the Referee and the assistnat referee send in a report to the Soccer Assoc.

Answer submitted by Lucas Joyner of Brisbane Queensland, Australia


The player should be sent off (shown the red card).

Law 12 states under sending off offences,"A player is sent off... 3. spits at an opponent or any other person". The player has spat at his coach and commited that offence. He should be sent from the bench and would be required to leave the playing area.

Answer submitted by Douglas D. Harris of Albion Michigan, USA


Following procedures recognised by your sanctioning body, get the center referee's attention. Do not let the substitute on the field of play. The player of record is the culprit, do not complicate matters by allowing the substitute on the field of play. Inform the center referee of the action you observed and let the center referee follow his own course of action

Answer submitted by Afif H. Saad of Richmond Texas, USA


As an assistant referee, I will immediately get the referee's attention before play starts.

I'll inform the referee of the misconduct of that player which should be punished by send-off (Law12, sending-Off offense #3,"spits at an opponent or any other person"). The referee should send-off the player and show him a red card. The team should play short and that player should not be substituted for, i.e., the substitute should go out of the field if he already stepped in, i.e. the referee should disallow the substitution.

The game should then start with normal restart (whatever caused the stoppage of play). The reason the team should play short is that substitution has not been completed according to Law 3, when the player committed the misconduct. At that moment, he is still a player (not a substitute) even he was outside the field of play, since his substitute did not enter the field of play yet. Hence, he should be punished for spitting as a player and not as a substitute.

Law 3 states that.. "a substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play". .."from that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced ceases to be a player". The misconduct was committed before the substitute entered the field of play.

A Note From MrRef


Great! There were quite a few correct responses to this situation and I was not able to post all of them. Many of you were correct when you said that the player committing the Send-Off offence of spitting at another person was still considered a player even though he had left the field of play (LOTG 1999 Law 3).


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