Shawn, a HS and College Referee, asks:
Have you ever had a kicks-from-the-mark situation where, in the execution phase, an eligible player became ineligible due to injury, misconduct, or other cause? How did you handle it?
According to LOTG, “the opposing team will not further ‘reduce to equate’” and “the team with fewer players may use all its eligible players before the other team and will therefore begin allowing its players to kick a second time before this occurs for the other team.” Also, KFTM “will continue so long as the team has at least a single eligible player”. This seems ripe for abuse, as, in a worst case scenario, a team whose keeper is also an excellent penalty kicker could declare all other eligible players “injured” once the execution phase has begun, or after the initial group of five have kicked. The guidance from expert referees is the referee should “reduce to equate,” using Law 18.
We can tell you how it used to be handled in the “good old days,” how that changed to the not-so-long-ago days, and how it is supposed to be handled as of June of this year.
First of all, take note that what follows your opening to the second paragraph below of “According to the LOTG” is out of date. Second of all, the scenario you describe is always possible if there are bad intentions on the part of a team – the consequences may be in accordance with the LOTG and the Referee may have little recourse because nothing illegal is being done but the Referee can include in the match report the behavior of a team which is otherwise legal but offends the spirit of the game.
As of this year’s version of the LOTG, “reduce to equate” continues throughout the entire KFTM procedure, not just during the phase of the procedure that precedes the first kick. The loss of an eligible player through injury or misconduct triggers a comparable reduction in the number of opposing players who are eligible. The Law also specifies, though, that a player who chooses not to participate despite being eligible (i.e., not being declared injured or sent off for misconduct) is counted as having unsuccessfully kicked from the mark.
If the Referee believes that a team is apparently manipulating the availability of its eligible players in an unsporting manner, the solution resolves into two options. First, if listed eligible players are being declared “injured” and unable to participate with no supporting evidence, then the solution is to proceed in regular order (i.e., following the rules) but then to report this information to the competition authority with full details in the match report. Second, if after listed eligible players in any round have taken a kick but there remain other listed eligible players who, despite not having been sent off and not having been declared injured, do not respond to a call to take a kick, then after calling the name of a remaining eligible player several times without success, the Referee simply marks their “attempt” as a “miss” (i.e., no goal) and moves on in regular order.
Remember, the Referee does not choose who kicks — this information is supplied by the team at each kicking opportunity. The Referee has four tasks: (1) signal for the kick to be taken, (2) observe if any misconduct occurs by the kicker or goalkeeper, (3) record the results, and (4) ensure that no eligible player from that team in that round takes a kick a second time in the same round. The only way a player is removed from eligibility is to be sent off or declared injured and unable to participate, at which point the opposing team reduces its eligible play list accordingly and notifies the Referee which eligible player has been removed.