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'The right call', by Ref. Vangelis - March 2006
March 1


Ref. Vangelis,

A team was awarded a penalty kick. The team best penalty kicker is on the bench. Can a player be subbed to allow the Penalty Kicker on the bench to kick the penalty kick?

-Ron

Answer: Law 3, under the section Official Competition, states that “Up to a maximum of three substitutions may be used in any match played in an official competition organized under the auspices of FIFA, the confederations or the national associations”.

Also, Law 3, under the section Substitution Procedure, states that “A substitute only can enter the field of play at the halfway line and during a stoppage in the match”.

So, the player can be substituted when the game has been stopped for the penalty kick. However, this is assuming first of all that the game is played under an official FIFA competition. Second, the maximum number of substitutions has not been reached and third, the penalty kick is taken during the regulation time.

Please keep in mind that “substitutions” is one of the areas that FIFA permits the laws of the game to be modified and, therefore, the answer to this question can be different if the game is played with any of these modifications in effect.

For example, various leagues in California, especially youth, high schools and colleges, permit substitutions on specific stoppages of the game and not in every stoppage.

The Law book states on page 3 under Modifications that “Substitutions are permissible, subject to the agreement of the national association concerned and provided the principles of the Laws are maintained, the Laws may be modified in their application for matches for players of under 16 years of age, for women footballers, for veteran footballers (over 35 years) and for players with disabilities.

Many national associations have taken advantage of this allowance and, therefore, the rules of the competition in many areas have been modified accordingly. The referee must be aware of these modifications and apply them for the match that he has been appointed to officiate.

Ref. Vangelis
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March 8


Ref. Vangelis,

One of the two keepers on our team is very good at saving penalty kicks. If by chance he is on the pitch and playing as a field player, can I put him in goal just to face this circumstance and after, put him back in his original position on the field, when the penalty has been executed?

Coach Gianni

Answer:Yes, the two players can change positions. Law 3 addresses specifically this situation. Under the section, Changing the Goalkeeper, Law 3 states that “Any of the players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that first, the referee is informed before the change is made and second, that the change is made during a stoppage in the match.

This would be true not only during the regulation time but even at the end of the game in case penalty kicks are taken to determine the winner of a match. Procedures to determine the winner of a match states that, “An eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper at any time when kicks from the penalty mark are being taken. An eligible player is anyone who is on the field of play at the end of the match, which includes extra time where appropriate.

So the two goalkeepers can change position before the penalty kick is taken and change back at the next appropriate stoppage of the game after the penalty kick is taken. In both cases the referee must be informed prior to the change.

If the players somehow make the change without notifying the referee, both players must be cautioned for unsporting behavior. A similar situation is mentioned in the booklet, “Questions and Answers to the Laws of the Game”, published by FIFA.

Please notice the two different scenarios taken from page 10 of this booklet:.

10. A player changes his position with the goalkeeper without informing the referee. When he notices it, what action does the referee take?
10.1. The new goalkeeper then touches the ball with his hand in his own penalty area. What action does the referee take?

Answer: In both cases the referee allows play to continue and cautions both players for unsporting behavior when the ball next goes out of play.

So the referee in such a case will have to caution both players at the next stoppage of the game or if he stops the game to administer the caution, the match is restarted by an indirect free kick. The kick is taken by the opposing team from the place where the ball was located when play was stopped.

The last thing to keep in mind is that both players must meet the requirements of Law 4, “player’s equipment” during the change. Law 4 states that “each goalkeeper wears colors which distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referee”. So the players in question will have to change into appropriate outfits during the change of their positions.

Ref. Vangelis
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March 15


Ref. Vangelis,

When the teams are set on the field, ready to begin the game, if I change my mind, can I make a substitution without permission or do I have to wait, let the game begin and make the substitution at the proper time?

Coach Gianni


Answer Part 1: The first part of the question is an easy one.
One of the conditions listed for replacing a player by a substitute is in Law 3 under the section Substitution Procedure. It states that, “The referee is informed before any proposed substitution is made”. So a substitution cannot be allowed without the referee’s permission or without his knowledge.

A similar situation is addressed in the booklet, “Questions and Answers to the Laws of the Game”, published by FIFA. Please note in the answers of the two following questions the proper action of the referee when a substitute enters the field of play without his knowledge at the beginning of the match.

Question #14 on page 10 of the booklet states:
A substitute, who is not the goalkeeper, plays from the beginning of the match replacing a team-mate. The referee is not informed. This player plays the ball deliberately with his hand. What action will the referee take?

Answer: The referee stops play and cautions the substitute for entering the field of play without his permission. The player is instructed to leave the field of play for the substitution procedure to be completed correctly. The match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the opposing team from where the ball was when the play was stopped.

Question #15 on page 10 of the booklet states:
A substitute plays from the beginning of the match, replacing a team-mate. The referee is not informed. An opponent commits a foul against the substitute. What action will the referee take?

Answer: The referee stops play and cautions the substitute for entering the field of play without his permission. The player is instructed to leave the field of play for the substitution procedure to be completed correctly. Depending on the foul, he will caution or send off the player, or takes no disciplinary action. The match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the opposing team from where the ball was when play was stopped.

One thing that we need to keep in mind as we consider the second part of the initial question is that the rules of the competition might stipulate that “scheduled time” is “kick off time”. Therefore, in such a case, the referee has no choice but to allow the substitution to take place after the game has been started. Or it could be that a game is scheduled to be televised and the referee has no choice but to start the game exactly when the signal is given from the appropriate authorities.

In conclusion, the referee must be notified when a substitution is about to take place regardless of when it is requested, before or during the game. Such a substitution can take place either before the game is started or at the first stoppage of the game depending on the specific rules of the competition.

Ref. Vangelis

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March 22

Ref. Vangelis,

When the teams are set on the field, ready to begin the game, if I change my mind, can I make a substitution without permission or do I have to wait, let the game begin and make the substitution at the proper time?

Coach Gianni


Answer: When I first saw this question my thoughts were: What kind of a coach will do such a thing and why in the world will he do it?


I asked coach Gianni about it and he gave me a number of good reasons.

Here are some:

The right player just arrived.
One of the players on the field looked O.K. before but now he has a physical problem.
The coach didn't notice that the other team is using a different player than usual.
The coach used some players to fool the opponent coach, then puts on the field 3 different players that, tanks to a fix play, are able to score in the first minute. This is something that the team has studied dozens of times during practice.
Lastly, one of the players after the warm up gives the coach the sensation that he is still not ready, etc.
These and other reasons might seem good ones from a coach’s perspective but this might not be advisable under FIFA rules. Let me explain why.

We already discussed a couple of weeks ago that Law 3 permits a maximum of three substitutions. The same Law also states that, “A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper”. In addition, “In all matches the names of the substitutes must be given to the referee prior to the start of the match”.

Law 3 also states under the Substitution Procedure that, “A player who has been replaced takes no further part in the match”.

So I am sure you will agree that under FIFA rules with a limited number of substitutions, with each replaced player not returning to the game, the coach would be taking a big chance by replacing one or more players before the game starts. The coach would be risking having no available substitution to replace an injured player in case an accident takes place later on in the game.

What a chance to take!

Of course there is always the option of “unlimited in and out substitutions” but as a prominent soccer figure in the bay area states, “this happens only in America”.

Ref. Vangelis

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March 22

Ref. Vangelis,

I argued with a friend about this situation. If a team starts a game with 10 players, when the 11th arrives, can he or she enter or do they need to wait for the substitution situation? It seems to me that, not being a substitution, they can enter in any moment, just let the referee know by calling him from the border of the field. Am I correct?

Coach Gianni


Answer:We already discussed a couple of weeks ago that a list with all players’ and nominated substitutes’ names must be given to the referee prior to the start of the game.
We also discussed last week why it would make good sense under FIFA rules not to make a substitution before the game starts. So it could be that a coach may decide to start with only 10 players due to a late arrival or un-readiness of equipment or uniform of a starting player even though other named substitutes are ready and available.

Assuming that such a list was given to the referee at the beginning of the match, the correct answer would depend on where the person in question is listed. Is he or she listed as one of the eleven players or as one of the named substitutes?

Thus, if the person is listed as one of the named substitutes, the substitution procedure must be followed in case the coach decides that the newcomer will replace one of the eleven players.
If the person is on the list of the eleven starting players, this person is not one of the named substitutes and therefore the substitution procedure does not apply. This player can enter the field of play from any point on the boundary line. However, Law 5 states that, “The referee ensures that the players’ equipment meet the requirements of law 4”. Therefore, the player in question must enter the field of play after the referee has inspected his/her equipment and is satisfied that it meets Law 4 requirements.

Law 5 also states that, “The referee controls the match in co-operation with the assistant referees and, where applicable, with the fourth official”.
Page 39 of the law book under the section, The Fourth Official, states that, “The fourth official assists with any administrative duties before, during and after the match, as required by the referee”. It also states that “The fourth official has the authority to check the equipment of substitutes before they enter the field of play. If their equipment does not comply with the Laws of the Game, he informs the referee”.

In conclusion, if there is a fourth official appointed under the competition, he may inspect and verify that the player’s equipment meets the requirements of Law 4. Thus, when the player is ready at the next stoppage, he or she may enter in the field of play without further delay.

Ref. Vangelis


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Posted on 18 Oct 2006 by coachgianni
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