What would you do if a goalkeeper ran off the field and another player took his place without the referee knowing it during play. Also, the other team shoots and the new goalkeeper blocks it over the goal. Then you realize the keeper change. What do you do?

USSF answer (March 10, 2010):

We have a problem here with the description of the situation. Was this a “player” who was already on the field in another position or was it one of the substitutes from the bench?

The decision would be easy if it had been a player on the field who exchanged places — without informing the referee — with the ‘keeper (who then remained on the field): Allow play to continue and then caution both at the next stoppage.

However, based on your description, it seems that a substitute (loosely called a “player”) came on the field and replaced the former goalkeeper. The presents the referee with a totally different set of circumstances:
1. The referee’s acquiescence was not requested nor given for any substitution or exchange.
2. The goalkeeper deliberately left the field of play without the referee’s permission, so he must be cautioned.
3. The new goalkeeper entered the field without the referee’s permission and is thus still a substitute who has entered the field without permission and then denied the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

That places the incident squarely under the sending-off offenses in Law 12:

A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offenses:
* denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

Therefore, because the substitute is not a player and certainly not a goalkeeper, he must be sent off in accordance with the Law.

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