I had two situations that arose recently, and I was hoping for some guidance.

1. Unreported Substitution Prior to Kick-Off
In a match in which teams are only allowed seven substitutions and must nominate their starters prior to kick-off, we had the following occur. Both teams were checked in and their starters were marked on their line-up. In around the 50th minute, a player reported to the fourth official to substitute when it was discovered he was one of the nominated starters. Further, he sought to replace a nominated substitute who had been participating in the match from the beginning. The FIFA Q&A directs us that we can allow the nominated substitute to continue after being cautioned and complying with the substitution procedure. However, what happens if a team chooses to rectify their “mistake” and place the appropriate starting player in to the match? Further, is the nominated substitute subsequently permitted to become a substitute later in the match?

Further, do you have any advice on how to avoid such a problem in the future? This was an amateur match in which players only had numbers on their backs and it would have been quite difficult to confirm that the appropriate players are on the field at kick-off.

2. Unobserved Player Keeping Opponent Onside
In a recent match played in hot weather, the goalkeeper kept a water bottle about one yard beyond the goal line. One of her teammates was taking a drink unnoticed by the AR when an attacker received the ball in an apparent offside position. The AR indicated as such and the referee stopped play. It was only at this time that the second defender was noticed by the AR. What is the appropriate restart? Further, assuming that the defender had no ill-intent to deceive the officials, should the referee consider any sort of sanction for misconduct against the thirsty player?

Answer (July 10, 2007):
1. The nominated substitute who started the game became the player as soon as the game kicked off and, if removed for a substitute (the original player who was not there at the beginning), may not re-enter the game (unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise). He or she is cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card.

2. The appropriate restart is a dropped ball, in accordance with Law 8. If there is no reason to suspect deceit, then no punishment is required; however, the referee could decide to issue a caution for leaving the field of play without the permission of the referee.

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