U-16 girls game. Score is tied 1 – 1. Substitute player was at the half line ready to sub. Play rules allow substitution on any dead ball. Play was stopped for a corner kick. Referee beckoned the substitute onto the field. Coach pulled the substitute back and did not send her in for the corner kick. Second dead ball situation. The same substitute is at the half line ready to enter the game. Referee beckoned the same substitute onto the field. Substitute identified the girl she was replacing and AR1 took her card. The coach informed AR1 that it was his decision when to sub the player, not the referee’s and that the substitute should wait until he told her to enter the game. AR1 informed the coach that since she was beckoned onto the field and did not enter the field, she had used her substitution and was no longer allowed to sub in. Coach became irate.
Correct procedure ?? If not, what should have happened
USSF answer (July 28, 2009):
Once the substitute has reported to the fourth official (or assistant referee if there is no fourth official), only the referee makes the decision as to when the substitute may enter the game. In no event does the coach have any right to dictate what actions the game officials take.
On the other hand, neither the referee nor the assistant referee has any right to deny the player the right to enter the field because “she had used her substitution.” (Do we detect someone applying college rules here?) That is arrogant behavior that is not acceptable under the Laws of the Game. Game officials should be a proactive as possible, particularly at the youth level.
The referee has every right to expect the substitution to occur once he (or she) has beckoned, but there is no authority in the Law that REQUIRES the substitution — i. e., the substitute could withdraw (after all, he/she cannot enter the field unless and until the player being swapped leaves the field and we all know that the player can lawfully refuse). However, in such cases, the referee COULD consider this as a time-wasting ploy and treat it accordingly.