situation 1: an attacker was moving toward the goal with the ball. the goalkeeper was way out of his goal area and a defender tripped and fell, leaving the goal open to the attacker. a substitute who was warming up near the goal ran on to the field without my permission and tripped the attacker who was getting ready to shoot on goal as the defender tripped and fell. i didn’t know what to do, so i cautioned the substitute and gave the goalkeeper’s team an indirect free kick.what should i have done? i know the 2006 Law says we can send off substitutes or substituted players for all 7 of the reasons listed in Law 12, but i am not sure. some referees said i did it right, but others say i should have sent him off. can we really send off substitutes who enter the field illegally and prevent goals?
a second question: what should i do if the substitute or substituted player enters the field without my permission and then simply kicks the ball away, rather than tripping the opponent or committing any other foul?
USSF answer (February 23, 2007):
1. The 2006 changes in Law 3 and Law 12 regarding substitutes or substituted players who illegally enter the field were dealt with in the 2006 edition of the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (see, for example, the many rewritten entries under Law 3). Unfortunately, the 2006 edition of the Advice does not cover the question about whether a substitute who has entered the field illegally can be sent off if, while on the field and before play is stopped for the illegal entry, he or she handles the ball to prevent a goal or commits any other action which, in the opinion of the referee, interferes with an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
The answer is yes: A substitute or substituted player can be sent off and shown the red card for any action which, if it had been committed by a player, would have resulted in the player being sent off for either the 4th or the 5th send-off reason listed in Law 12. Just as with players, all elements of the decision to send someone off for either of these reasons are governed by Section D of Law 12 in Advice to Referees and apply to substitutes and substituted players as well as to players.
2. In this second question, the solution for simply kicking the ball by the “invading” substitute or substituted player would be two cautions followed by the send-off for the second caution: one caution for unsporting behavior for entering the field without permission and the second for unsporting behavior for kicking the ball away from the opponent. You would then restart the match with an indirect free kick where the ball was when the substitute illegally entered the field (the first misconduct).