Blue defender #6 fouls Red attacker #9 in the penalty area and the center referee whistles and signals for a penalty kick. Before the PK is taken, one of the assistant referees signals the center referee for a conference and informs him that the Red team has too many players on the field, and that Red #9 was supposed to have substituted out of the game at the last substitution break but came back onto the field.
1. What is the proper restart? What if any disciplinary action should
2. What restart is proper if the extra Red player is not discovered by
the referees until after Red #14 had taken and scored on the penalty
kick but before the ensuing kickoff?
3. Same as #2, but the extra Red player is not discovered by the
referees until after the ensuing kickoff? What should the referee do
Answer (October 17, 2012):
Law 3 (in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game in the back of the book) tells us:
Substitute or substituted player
If a substitute or a substituted player enters the field of play without permission:
• the referee must stop play (although not immediately if the player in question does not interfere with play or if the advantage can be applied)
• the referee must caution him for unsporting behavior
• the player must leave the field of play
If the referee stops play, it must be restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the position of the ball when play was stopped (see Law 13 – Position of free kick).
In question 1, the referee did not stop play for player #9’s entry without permission, but because he was “fouled” by defender #6. Because #9 was NOT a player, no foul could be called for #6’s “foul”; however, #6 may be cautioned for unsporting behavior. Player #9 must also be cautioned for unsporting behavior (entering without permission) and removed from the field, and the game will be restarted with an indirect free kick for #6’s team from the position of the ball when play was stopped for the “foul” (see Law 13 — Position of free kick).
In question 2, the goal is disallowed and the indirect free kick (as in Q1) is the restart. There can be no penalty kick for a “foul” against a non-player, which is what a substituted player is.
In question 3, the goal is allowed to stand. The assistant referee ought to be removed from his/her duties for gross negligence in not bringing the matter to the referee’s attention immediately, but this will likely not happen. The referee must stand in shame, as he/she has also neglected his/her duties in keeping track of who should be on the field. Full details of the fiasco must go in the match report, with both officials sharing in the blame for poor performance of their duties.