I was a coach of a u12 boys team. In a league game, one of my players was injured, and I was beckoned onto the field by the referee to attend to my player.
By the time I reached the player, he felt better, and wanted to continue to play. The referee stated that since I had entered the field, I was required to substitute for the (briefly) injured player, and that he could re-enter the game at the next appropriate substitution opportunity.
I know that once a player leaves the field for an injury, he must wait for approval from the referee to re-enter the playing field, but I was puzzled that I was made to substitute for the injured player who had never left the field, for the sole reason that I had come on to the field to tend to him.
Was the substitution correctly required? Thanks!
USSF answer (August 11, 2009):
Under the Laws of the Game a player must leave the field if the referee has allowed someone to enter the field to assess or treat an injury. Under the Laws of the Game, that player may not return to the field at all if a substitute replaces him (or her), but many rules of competition do allow such substitutions.
In addition, the referee had no authority to require a substitution. His only authority is to require the injured player to leave the field — whether that player is substituted for or not is a decision of the player/coach/team and is subject to any limiting rules of competition.