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Soccer Referee Questions on Soccer Rules

Welcome to -- a Soccer Law Question and Answer site.

Providing answers to questions regarding soccer laws since October 11, 1999.

A very Happy New year to all!

You call it #35 answer
Dying seconds of the second half of a u-18 match the ball goes out for a throw in in favour of the blue team! Down a goal, blue 6 was about to try and take the throw in quickly but the blue coach had 2 substitutes ready to go on! So blue 14 joined blue 6 to be substituted by blue 11 and blue 16, who receives the ball tossed to him by blue 6 and quickly takes the throw in using a powerful flip throw to hurl the ball well into the red half! The blue team secures control and quickly deposits the ball into the back of the red goal, just as the last few seconds tick away. CR looks over at his near AR who is running up the line following the CR direction that a goal was scored! The CR is contemplating to restart with a kick off as time winds down or perhaps just end the match now? When he turns to check in with the far AR, who is standing at attention at midfield, shaking his head and signalling, we need to talk. The CR checks in with the AR who says , "That was a foul throw in." The CR scoffs and says, "A flip throw is unusual but perfectly fine." The AR peeved at the attitude of the CR, shakes his head and goes, "Fine but that is not it!", as he walks away. Match ends tied 2 to 2. Red coach approaches the AR and shortly the match is later protested by red, can you think of why based only on the information you know from this situation?? Your Match, Your Decision, Your Reputation!

Congratulations to all those who grasped, the AR had identified a serious flaw in the mechanics of the referees substitution policy! The blue #16 player taking the throw in had not entered the FOP at the time of the substitution because the player leaving # 6 blue was already outside the FOP having tracked the ball down for the throw -in and had tossed the ball to blue #16 to continue the throw in while he remained at the bench. #6 blue was off the FOP as part of the normal playing conditions thus with the referee's permission

A substitution problem like this should never occur because the AR should have the flag held horizontal above the head until all players being substituted for have left the field and returned to the team area and the substitutes have entered the FOP to take their place as a player following eye contact with the CR. At that time, the CR will blow the whistle to restart play. Play can not start until the whistle blows which gives the second check that all substitutions are completed to the CR.
All the CR had to do was request #16 blue to step onto the FOP before taking the throw in.

As far as the vast majority of persons are concerned when the player leaves the sub is a player once he starts to enter even if he does not touch the line. Yet it is likely we have at one time or another seen refs allow substitutes to enter the FOP before the departing player has left with no protests to follow. The old Q&As has such a question. The answer given was

"" A player being substituted leaves the field of play and the referee
signals to the substitute to enter the field. Before entering, however,
he takes a throw-in ignoring the substitution procedure stated in Law
3, regarding entering the field of play. Is this procedure permitted?
No, the substitution procedure stated in Law 3 must first be completed.
The player must enter the field of play at the halfway line during
a stoppage in play.""

In another question where a substitution mistake was made the answer given was

"" If he realises his mistake after the match has restarted
The goal is allowed. He should instruct the player to leave the field of
play. The player who has been substituted may return to the field of
play or be replaced by another nominated substitute. He continues the
match and reports the situation to the appropriate authorities. If the
play was stopped to do so, it will be restarted with an indirect free kick
to the opposing team where the ball was when play was stopped*.""

In any information exchange between the CR and an AR their must be, in fact there is no excuse not to have a level of respect for the other. We often have ARs writing in discussing their exasperation with ego maniacal CRs who fail to grasp the need to communicate! In contrast we have referees complain bitterly about inattentive ARs who either miss the options to help or overstep their bounds and try to decide match events as they wish. In this situation the contempt and attitude is obviously non professional and frankly stupid! The line from the Forest Gump movie, "Stupid is as stupid does!" reflects the reality when egos are in conflict.

The LOTG allow for creative often unlimited substitution policies at the youth level. To some extent we are less picky about the particulars then say at the top levels of play simply because it happens way more often at the youth levels and we try not to use up too much time . Simple truth is the substitute was made improperly, without the blue 16 entering the FOP to claim his place as a player prior to the throw in. While the LOTG suggest the whistle be used after each substitution to start play, it is not a mandatory aspect of the match that could be appealed! Poor mechanics for whistle use here is not the issue. We can reasonably assume the referee did in fact ok the substitution. Mind you a referee AWARE of the whistle requirement in the advice to the LOTG might have noticed the substitution was not performed correctly and acted accordingly!

Now you may feel this is trivial, but the LOTG do not allow a bench personal to take a throw in, ONLY a legal player! There was no real attempt at deception at play, just a desperate team trying to restart quickly. But a shoddy substitution may have created a protestable situation forcing a disciplinary committee to rule on.

We also have some ethical questions here with regard's to the AR supplying the information to the red coach who likely was unaware of the issue and using the information to try and get a replay or a reversal of the CR allowing the goal. The AR needed to swallow his pride a bit and state to the CR why he had asked for the conflab in the first place . Plus the AR must bear much of the responsibility for the initial confusion. It was a very poor choice of words to say it was a foul throw because the issue was NEVER about the throw in but the substitution.

The fact the throw in was performed in such an unusual fashion with the summersaulting flip throw has distracted both from the real issue! While there is some rational to not sweat the small stuff, sometimes the devil is in the details! The oohh and ahh of watching the flip throw and the haste of a match running out of time conspired to override the sensibility of ensuring the substitution was done properly! The referee needed to be reminded by the AR and the goal disallowed with the throw in not accepted as the substitution was incorrect brought back and done correctly. Once the goal was allowed and a kick off restart the opportunity to correct the imbalance was lost!

There is another reason other than time why many referees restart the game after a goal at the end of the game. Protests are less likely to be considered if a goal was allowed and then play restarted. Our concern is that we don't suggest that an incorrect substitution procedure is a viable protestable call. We only point out getting sloppy MAY set up a possibility. If the goal was scored from an error in law, it may be open to appeal or interpretation.. Restarting play doesn't' change the fact if an error in law has occurred, whether play is restarted after the goal or not.

Do not get slack on substitution policy, it can bite you!


1111 russell Montgomery Sydney NSW Australia All The Above
Could the reason be based on the following: • A substitute who has not completed the substitution procedure by setting foot on to the field of play cannot restart play by taking a throw-in or corner kick. While the details in the scenario do not say either way, is it possible that Blue 16 did not actually enter the field of play before moving into position to take the throw-in? Did they simply walk down the sideline, receive the ball from Blue 6, and proceed to take the throw-in?

1112 Amy Lloyd Santa Cruz California USofA Referee
Blue 16 was not a player of record - s/he did not enter the field of play.

1116 Ben Lockhart brandon manitoba canada Referee
did blue sixteen not step on the field before taking the throw-in

1117 Radomir Brisbane Queensland Australia Referee
Blue 16 probably didn't set his foot on the field before taking throw in so substitution wasn't completed correctly .Retake

1119 pete floral park ny US Soccer Parent REMOVE
blue 16 never stepped on the field before he took the throw in which makes him ineligible to participate.

1121 Neo Neophytou London United Kingdom Referee
It appears that Blue 16 did not enter the FOP to complete the substitution procedure. If this is true and he was given the ball and took the throw before first entering the FOP, then he has not yet become a 'player' so the throw in should have been retaken.

1122 Gwyn Williams Bridgewater NJ USA Referee
Blue 16 never entered the field of play and so the substitution never officially happened. Law 3


You Call It!

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