Fully understand we must have a keeper but when is a keeper a keeper? Situation, keeper has mild injury and is being treated off the field momentarily. His team wishes to continue play stating they have a keeper, he is just temporarily off the field and they wish to play short until he returns.

Must a keeper be on the field and capable of participation to be considered the team’s keeper?

note team has no more subs left per the rules of competition.

USSF answer (August 24, 2008):
There is no written requirement that the goalkeeper must be on the field of play at all times during the game. In fact, the IFAB Q&A of 2006 states:

20. During a match, the goalkeeper sprints from the goal to stop an opponent. He kicks the ball out of the field of play and a throw-in is awarded to the opposing team. The momentum of the goalkeeper takes him off the field of play and before he can return, the throw-in is taken and a goal is scored. What action, if any, should the referee take?
A goal is awarded since no offence has been committed.

However, it would be unusual for a goalkeeper to be treated for injury off the field of play, principally because the Laws provide specifically that the goalkeeper need not leave the field for treatment. One solution might have been for the referee to remind the team that one of the field players could temporarily act as goalkeeper — after donning appropriate equipment.

As to rules of a competition, any referee who accepts an assignment to a tournament (or any other competition) also accepts the rules of that competition, no matter how alien they may be.

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