At times I see a number of players in the game on the sidelines. It seems to me they go out of field of play as they wait for the ball then come back in to receive the ball as they run down field. It happens on the parents’ side of the field. As a center, should I be concerned about this? Do I wait for the opposing team to complain or comment?
i am aware of the rule not being able to go in and out of play without approval, but it seems to me many teams are enabling this tactic.
This is youth play Select and Premier level that I see this occurring.
Answer (March 3, 2016):
No. Going outside the field of play may be considered as part of a playing movement (see below), but normally players are expected to remain within the playing area.
Do not permit the players to do what you described in your question. Instead, warn them the first time and then caution them if it continues at that restart or again in the game.
There are occasions when players are allowed to leave the field of play without the referee’s permission, but they apply in only three cases:
1. To retrieve the ball for a throw-in or kick restart.
2. To celebrate a goal, but it is essential that players return to the field of play as soon as possible.
3. To avoid an obstacle on the field, i.e., to get around opponents to play the ball. This also applies when the opponents take the ball to one of the corners; in that case, the player may leave the field to play the ball back into the field. NOTE: This is purely traditional; it was part of the Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game for many years (removed after 2006), but has not been in print since the Q&A ceased to be published.
Here are two instances, as included in the 1996 Laws of the Game Q&A under Law III (as it was written then):
Q&A on the Laws of the Game through 2006:
1. A player accidentally passes over one of the boundary lines of the field of play. Is he considered to have left the field of play without the permission of the referee?
2. A player in possession of the ball passes over the touch line or the goal line without the ball in order to beat an opponent. What action does the referee take?
Play continues. Going outside the field of play may be considered as part of a playing movement, but players are expected, as a general rule, to remain within the playing area.
Removed after 2006, “because everyone knows that,” the same reasoning applied in not replacing players or substitutes who have been sent off, which is also not included in the Laws.