There is an injury on the field, and the ball is kicked out of bounds, which stops the game.

The injured player’s coach comes on to the field, the other players all take a knee, some go toward the bench area for a drink and coaching instruction.

Play resumes with the team that had the injured player taking a quick throw in while the other team is out of position, resulting in an easy goal.

No whistle is ever blown to stop or re-start the play.

Is it legal to start the play after the injured player is attended to on the field without a whistle from the head referee?

The head referee stated to the coaches that since the play was stopped on a ball played out of bounds, he does not need to blow the whistle to re-start the play.

According to page 76 of the FIFA “Laws of The Game” a whistle is needed to restart play after an injury, but a whistle is NOT needed to restart play from a throw-in.

Which applies in this instance?

Thanks for your time and consideration.

USSF answer (October 8, 2009):
The International Board has commented that the practice of teams kicking the ball out of play because they believe a player has been injured is a challenge to the referee’s authority under Law 5 to make the sole determination as to whether or not an injury during play is “serious” and warrants play being stopped. USSF’s guidance in 2008, however, is that a team which does this has not broken any Law and thus cannot be punished for it. It is the job of the referee to be seen quickly evaluating injuries and clearly establishing whether play should be stopped or not.

Here, a team played the ball out, which of course stopped play. We presume (even though it is not specifically stated) that the coach entered the field with the permission of the referee to tend to his player. USSF has also stated clearly that any player tended to on the field by a team official is required to leave the field regardless of whether play was stopped for this injury or not. The simple act of calling a team official onto the field for this purpose is enough to trigger the requirement that the player leave the field, not to return (if not substituted for) until play has resumed and the referee’s permission to re-enter has been given.

Because of this, the stoppage for the throw-in automatically became a ceremonial restart which requires a whistle signal to restart play. If the referee follows proper mechanics, the teams should be clearly advised by word and gesture that no restart can occur except by the signal of a whistle. If the restart does occur anyway, it must be called back and retaken properly. Even if the referee fails to follow proper procedures by notifying the teams, the whistle is still required.

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