I have a question concerning when a player, who has been instructed to leave the filed by the referee for an equipment problem, can return to the field.
LOTG law 4, page 19 states that the player can only re-enter the field when the ball is out of play.
Advice to referees, par 4.6 page 20 states that the player can re-enter the field when the ball is in play as long as the player enters from the touchline. I don’t understand what to do if faced with this situation.
USSF Answer (March 25, 2010:
Several years ago the Federation decided to support a slight divergence between itself and FIFA on this matter, based on a related instruction from FIFA which emphasized the importance of bringing teams back to their full strength as quickly as possible when one of the players was off the field, without substitution, for an injury and, in such cases, the referee could beckon that player to return to the field during play rather than having to wait for a stoppage. Your question inspired us to revisit the matter. The result is that as of this date Advice 4.6 has been amended to read as follows (all original text following the first paragraph remains as it was):
4.6 INCORRECT UNIFORM OR EQUIPMENT
Instructing a player to leave the field to correct an illegal uniform or equipment does not require a report by the referee as this is not a “send-off” for misconduct. The inspection to confirm that the correction has been made is conducted by the referee or, if delegated by the referee in the pregame conference, by the fourth official or an assistant referee if a fourth official has not been appointed. The player must receive a signal from the referee before actually re-entering the field and may do so only during a stoppage.