In the context of this question, I am the coach; but I am also a referee.

There was a miscommunication on the sideline while coaching my daughter’s U10 team and I accidentally sent 1 extra player onto the field. (I know I screwed up.)

The referee started the second half, and after several of the parents started yelling, noticed the extra person after play had already started. At which time, he randomly picked a player and told her to leave the field. When I called a different girl, he told me he was making the decision who to remove. At no time was play stopped and no cards were shown.

The ATR states that play is to stop on the discovery and the extra player is to be removed. However, I question whether the referee has the authority to determine which player is the extra one. Should the referee, after stopping play, ask the coach to remove a player or can he/she decide who needs to leave the pitch?

Thanks, in advance.

USSF answer (September 29, 2009):
First let us praise the referee for exercising a bit of good management skill: He had the wit to remove a player and not punish her, you, and your team for your screw-up. As you know, he could easily have cautioned her for entering the field of play without his permission.

However, he does NOT necessarily have the right to determine which player must leave. Only the team can do that, unless the competition is playing strictly under the Laws of the Game, in which case Law 3 will have required the team to have a roster and the referee must go by what is on the roster. ¬†If there is a roster and if they are using Law 3 substitution rules, then it is indeed the referee who determines who is the “extra” player based on his record of who was a valid player at the end of the first half as modified by any valid substitutions he recorded prior to the start of the second half. ¬†Failing either to have a roster or to be using Law 3 substitution rules, then clearly it is the coach who should declare who is the “extra” player.

So, while being thankful for the referee’s first bit of good sense, let the lapse as to who must leave the field go until the next stoppage and then substitute correctly (if that is permitted in your rules of competition).

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