Misconduct During Substitutions

Published on April 3, 2017

Todd Abraham

Todd Abraham, NISOA Senior Director of Instruction

By: Todd Abraham, NISOA Senior Director of Instruction

I received a question about how to deal with misconduct during substitutions as a result of the recent note about substitutions and reporting into the game. In the case where the game was stopped at a legal substitution opportunity and the referee beckoned the substitute A12 onto the field to replace player A6. Player A6 then commits violent conduct before leaving the field of play. The referee ejects player A6 and shows a red card. How many players should Team A be permitted to play with after this incident?

This is another area where the NCAA Soccer Rules and IFAB Laws of the Game are different.  The Laws of the Game require that a player leaves the field before the substitute enters so there are never more than 11 players of record on the field at any time.  The time associated with substituting may be considered when adding time at the end of a period (often referred to as injury time).  The NCAA timing procedures are different in that there is no provision for adding time at the end of the period.  Should time be wasted, then the clock must be stopped at that point in time.  To avoid time wasting (and frequent clock stoppages) during substitutions, as well as to maintain game flow, the NCAA has decided to allow substitutes to enter the field before the player comes off.  

Since that is the case, there may be more than 11 players on the field (when the ball is not in play) during substitution situations.  Any of those players may be cautioned or ejected as players during that short time.  If either the incoming player (A12) or the exiting player (A6) is ejected the team will be required to play with one fewer field player.


7 Responses to “Misconduct During Substitutions”

  1. Kirk LeCompte says:

    Just to clarify my understanding of your scenario, Team A will still be playing with 11 players at the restart, given that there were 12 players of record on the field during the substitution process when the misconduct occurred, correct?

  2. Adam says:

    So A12 is substituting for A6. The referee beckons A12 onto the field. Before A6 leaves the field, but after A12 enters the field, A6 is ejected. A few questions:

    First, as I understand your answer, you are saying that after ejecting A6, the referee must have A12 removed from the field so Team A only has 10 field players. Is that right?

    Second, is A12 charged a substitution? (For example, if this happens in the first half with no reentry permitted, can A12 re-enter the game in that half?) Seems unfair to A12 to charge him with a substitution when he didn’t even get to play. This seems to create a lot of problems.

    Side note: I would suggest a re-write of AR 3.7.1.c, which says a substitute becomes a field player of record (in the first 85 minutes) when beckoned on the field. That AR suggests the player leaving the field (A6) is no longer a field player of record. And, normally, when you eject a player who is not a field player of record (i.e., a substitute on the bench), the team does not play short.

    • Todd Abraham Todd Abraham says:

      Both A6 and A12 are removed and the team continues with 2 fewer players. Neither is eligible to participate further in the match so the substitution question is moot.

      the background and basis for this ruling are that the NCAA allows players to enter the field before the exiting player leaves the field. The NCAA also does NOT require the team to identify who is leaving the field. That determination happens when the exiting player actually leaves the field. In many cases the team (legally) changes their mind about who will exit (“no don’t go in for Sam, take John out”).

      Therefore, in this same situation, if A12 and A6 got into a fight with B1 and B2 on the field before A12 exited, it is fair (and the NCAA’s intention) that both teams play with 9 players. For that to be true, A12 (and team A) must be subject to all the penalties associated with being a player until he leaves the field. By extension, if he commits VC against a teammate before he leaves the field the team must play short.

      The change you suggest to the A.R. would alter the intent of the NCAA.

    • Todd Abraham Todd Abraham says:

      Rereading your question, I may have answered a different question than you asked …

      If A12 is substituting for A6. The referee beckons A12 onto the field. Before A6 leaves the field, but after A12 enters the field, A6 is ejected (but A12 hasn’t done anything wrong).

      Team A MUST play with 1 fewer players. A12 is considered to have entered the game. Team A may remove any of the team A players, not necessarily A12. If they chose to remove A12, he is subject to the rentry restrictions for that period.

      The rationale … A12 has entered the field, ostensibly for A6, however, that is not finalized until a Team A player leaves. In a “normal” substitution situation, the team can decide, even after A12 has entered the field, that they want A5 to come off instead of A6. There is no requirement for the entering player to inform the referee crew who is leaving. The player leaving is the one who actually comes off. Therefore, in your scenario, if A12 had reported and was initially substituting for A6, but a different Team A player is ejected, Team A could say that the other player was the one coming off and avoid playing short. The NCAA wanted to avoid that.

      Net, net, all the players on the field are subject to disciplinary action that affects the team until they leave the field of play.

    • Kirk LeCompte says:

      Thanks Adam. That was exactly my follow-up question. And thanks Todd for the answer. This is CLEARLY different than both FIFA and NFHS.

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