There is much written about Substitution Procedures under Law 3 about players leaving and entering the field and about referees being diligent about players being completely off the field before allowing the substitute to enter.
However, one (this referee) cannot find any information about the responsibilities of the referee in allowing that said substitute, who is now the player of record, being allowed time to take position on the field before the referee allows the restart. One would think the center referee has the responsibility to determine the new player be allowed to be properly positioned before the restart. Is there anything written or “understood” about this scenario?
Allowing a free kick to be taken before a player is properly placed is sure to cause a problem. An assessor told me allowing the player to access their proper position before the restart whistle is a mere courtesy. This cannot be correct.
USSF answer (November 17, 2008):
Common sense and tradition dictate that the referee delay the restart until the newly-entered player has reached a reasonable position on the field. The need for such a delay is obvious in the case of a substitution for a goalkeeper, but is less obvious for players who have no set position on the field.