Johannesburg - In a recent game in Brazil, 10 red cards and eight yellows were issued, making 20 of the 22 players the subject of some form of disciplinary sanction by the referee.
The match official booked the first player as early as the first minute, which seemed to be a sign of what was to come.
The game was between two of Brazil’s biggest clubs. Vitoria hosted rivals Bahia in the Estadio Manoel Barradas, and everything appeared to be going okay until the second half.
The incident that sparked the mass brawl was the awarding of a penalty to the visitors. The celebration by the scorer didn’t go down too well with the hosts’ goalkeeper. A fight broke out and fists flew in all directions.
The game was abandoned with the score at 1-1.
Why am I telling you this? Well, there has been some discussion, and even confusion, about how many players need to be on the field of play for a game to go ahead, or continue, in this case.
The Laws of the Game state that “a match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players”. Remember that one of those seven players has to be the goalkeeper, because a game cannot go ahead if there is no 'keeper, even though there may be 10 other players present.
There is one paragraph here (Law 3 - The players) that is worth noting:
“If a team has fewer than seven players because one or more players has deliberately left the field of play, the referee is not obliged to stop play and the advantage may be played, but the match must not resume after the ball has gone out of play if a team does not have the minimum number of seven players.”
I’ve also been asked when it’s the correct time to book or send off a player. The answer is simple - whenever it’s required. I don’t subscribe to the notion that cautioning - showing a player a yellow card - too soon is likely to lead to additional yellow or red cards in the game. That is utter nonsense.
Match officials should never go on to the field of play with a “grudge” against any team or player. You turn up for your game with a “clean slate”, regardless of what happened in the past with a particular team or player you refereed.
We are not there to hold grudges. Nor are we there to take nonsense from overpaid prima donnas who think that we are some kind of whipping boy for them to take their frustration out on.
Respect works both ways and referees are there to arbitrate between two sides who will sometimes try every trick in the book to hoodwink the referee.
Be aware, fellow match officials.
Laws of the Game changes:
Law 10 - Determining the outcome of a match (new title)
Kicks from the penalty mark:
- A goalkeeper who offends and the penalty has to be retaken must be cautioned.
- If the kicker offends, the kick is forfeited (recorded as “missed”).
- If the 'keeper and the kicker offend at the same time, a retake is ordered and two cautions (yellow cards) if no goal is scored.
- If a goal is scored, the kicker is cautioned and the kick recorded as “missed”.
Law 11 - Offside
- An offside player can be penalised if the ball rebounds/deflects off a match official. Addition of “attempts to” to the definition of a save (in other words, saves or attempts to save).
- A player in an offside position who impedes an opponent must be penalised.
- A player in an offside position who is fouled before committing an offside offence - foul penalised.
- A player in offside position who is fouled when already committing an offside offence - offside penalised.
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