Question: Red cards, substitutions, and the Laws of the Game

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by LordRobin, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. LordRobin

    LordRobin Member+

    Sep 1, 2006
    Akron, OH
    Cleveland C. S.
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I watched a game recently where a goalkeeper was red-carded. He was substituted as he left -- which made sense, because I thought there was an exception for the goalkeeper. But I wondered if the team would have to sit one of their field players down to reduce the side to 10 men. It didn't look like that was the case. I flipped through the Laws of the Game trying to get some clarification.

    Here's the thing -- I went through the Laws multiple times. I searched that document on every term I could think of. I could not find the section that says "a player sent off may not be replaced by a substitute"! Am I nuts? Where is that rule hiding? And what is the rule regarding sent off goalkeepers and substitutions?

  2. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A goalkeeper being sent off is no different from anyone else being sent off. The team must play with 10.

    If the team has a substitution remaining, the backup goalkeeper can come in, and one of the field players will be taken out. If there are no substitutions remaining, one of the field players already in the game must put on a keeper's shirt and take over in goal.
  3. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    You are correct, it is not spelled out in the Laws.

    Way back when, there were no substitutes. So if someone got sent off, obviously you were playing with one less. Same thing if someone was injured and couldn't continue.

    Despite substitutes being added to the game, FIFA/IFAB have considered that this is one of the things that "everybody knows", so it doesn't have to be in the text of the Laws. It is pretty apparent from other documents that no replacement is allowed.

    Since the foul that resulted in the send-off created a stoppage, a team may substitute if they have not used up the maximum number allowed. They are not substituting for the sent-off keeper; rather they are subbing out another player for the new goalkeeper to come in.

    If there are no substitutes left, or if the team elects not to sub, one of the field players would have to become the goalkeeper and put on the Spiderman jersey.

    Many youth leagues limit the opportunities to substitute. Having a player sent off, even if it is the keeper, is usually not one of them. So a team in that league would be forced to convert one of the field players into the goalkeeper, at least until the next substitution opportunity.

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