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Question Number: 23347

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/20/2010

RE: AYSO Under 14

Dave of Santa Monica, CA United States asks...

I'm a ref administrator, and one of my refs asked me this question, and I'm embarrassed to say it stumped me.

Blue defender in a Boys U-14 AYSO game asked permission to leave the field to tie his shoes as the ball was being played toward the opposite end of the field--that is, the Blue attackers were advancing far into Red's end of the field. . As ref was running by, he gave permission. Blue defender left the field of play and tied his shoes.

A Red midfielder stole the ball, and made a breakaway toward Blue's goal. There were no offside players, the midfielder did most of the advancing himself.

The Blue defender who had been given permission to leave the field, now suddenly (and without permission) ran back onto the field to defend the ball. The ref let play continue, and the Blue defender kicked the ball out of bounds.

The ref blew his whistle, and cautioned the Blue defender for entering the field without permission. He restarted the game with a throw-in for Red.

Afterward, the ref asked me: should he have stopped play when the Blue defender entered the field without permission? And after cautioning the Blue defender, would he have restarted with an IFK to Red? Or a dropped ball?

The ref thought he should stop play, but wasn't sure if the misconduct merited it. Also, since the Red midfielder was advancing the ball, he didn't want to stop the Red attack.

Thanks for clearing up this.

Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

In addition to the answers you have received thus far, this is an excellent example where the CR and AR should step up their game and go from reactive refereeing, to preventative and proactive refereeing. Bells and whistles should be going off in their heads when this kind of administrative/uncommon event occurs during the game. The referee and especially the assistant referee and/or the 4th (if there was one) should ensure that the player and that player's coach know they cannot re-enter the field without the referee's permission and that if the player does re-enter without permission, he will be cautioned. The player now has been essentially warned and knows the consequence. This is usually enough to keep the player from bolting back on to the FOP. It is now also incumbent upon the 4th official, the AR (if there are either of those on the game) and/or the referee to be aware of the player's desire to re-enter the game and actively involve themselves with getting that player back onto the FOP as quickly as possible. The teams and the parents/spectators appreciate this kind of assistance and interest in fair play -- and usually bolsters the credibility of the referee team.

I also agree with Ref Voshol that the player should not have had to leave the FOP. He could have been right next to the touchline or goal line, or wherever -- out of the way -- and never had to deal with the entry/re-entry issue.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Dave
Good question.
The referee has a number of options here
1. He plays advantage and cautions the blue defender for entering the FOP without permission at the next natural stoppage in the game.
2. He stops play, cautions the blue defender for entering the FOP without permission and restarts with an indirect free kick from where the ball was when play was stopped.
In the situation described option 1 appears somewhat viable due to the way the situation developed and his desire to allows Reds to advance the ball. If the referee went with advantage the TI was the correct restart.
What this shows is that following natural instinct gives the referee a good idea of the Laws as the referee here did not want to disadvantage the Reds. The referee got the correct decision he was just not sure how he got there.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The referee had three options: (1) to stop play caution the player for entering the field of play without permission (restart with an IFK); (2) to apply advantage and let play continue notwithstanding the player's infringment of law 12, caution before the next restart of play (restart for the reason the ball went out of play); or (3) to grant permission for the player to reenter or ignore the reentry as trifling (no restart necessary).

A player temporarily off the field of play may re-enter from the touchline during the run of play - - if the referee grants permission. The wise referee remembers there is a player off the field and unless an inspection (blood, correction of equipment etc) is necessary, is ready to wave the player back onto the field as soon as possible.

There appears to be no inherent unfairness in granting immediate permission for a team on defense to return to full strength after a defender ties his shoe (contrast with an attacker wishing to reenter in the attacking third), but the referee must judge whether to grant permission - even without a shout from the player or his coach - - in light of all of the circumstances of the match.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

It seems to me this could have been avoided if the player just knelt down and tied his shoes while on the field. If equipment can be corrected without leaving the field, why leave?

Law 4 says, 'A player who has been required to leave the field of play because of an
infringement of this Law and who re-enters the field of play without the referee's permission must be cautioned.' But that's not exactly what happened here; the player wasn't required to leave, he asked for permission to leave the field.

Once a player off the field has corrected his equipment, the referee should give him permission to enter play from the sideline as soon as practible. Permission normally wouldn't be given until the player would not immediately interfere with play.

So we have a player off the field to repair equipment - even though at his own request, his shoe was not properly tied which should be fixed. He reentered without the permission of the referee and interfered with play. It should be a caution, but it is a very weak caution because it could have been avoided. The restart would be an indirect free kick.

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