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Old Sun Sep 17, 2006, 09:05pm
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Argumentative Coach on Substitution

I had a situation in a HS boys game, NFHS rules, which I never saw before.

HS JV Boys game. Field markings were ok, but there were no center field markers. I used my partner's gear bag as an estimate, since he placed it at half field before the game.

One player from the white team came up to mid field to sub. Then a player from the blue team came to the same area, approximately one step away from the white player. Both players were well away from their respective benches, and to me, obviously in a position to substitute at the next opportunity.

The ball goes out of bounds off of white, and we have a blue throwin. I whistle, and call the subs on the field. The white player comes on, while the blue player stands there without moving. I called 1-2 more times, at which point, the blue coach says "he's not a sub". I said "He's at the center of the field, he's a sub". I was told "I didn't request a sub. I have to request a sub for him to be one". I have never heard of anything like this. The player refused to come on the field, and was called back to his bench by the coach.

At halftime, the coach asked my partner about it. I don't know exactly what was said. When I asked him about it, he said "if he didn't want to sub the kid, he doesn't have to". I said that he clearly sent him to mid field, and had he not been subbing, the white player would not have been called on since it wasn't their throw. His response was that the player had to report to the official scorekeeper, which in this game, was the officials, and had not, so he didn't have to sub. He also said to me that I was making a big deal out of something I should just let go. (part of my irritation with this stemmed from the fact that this coach was also waving his arms around and stomping around on most of the calls which were made by my partner or myself - clearly dissent, but not quite enough for me to address verbally or with a card at this point - his team was ahead almost the entire game, and won 3-0)

It is my understanding that if you send a player to midfield, they are a sub, and are a player in the game once they have been beckoned on the field. They do not report to an official scorer, since normally, if there is one, they are in a pressbox well out of reach to "report" - reporting would just be going to midfield. There was no question that this player was not within the team area around his bench, and was definitely in the area within a few feet of mid field.

Suggestions on how to handle this?
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Old Mon Sep 18, 2006, 12:21am
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Let me preface this by telling you that I had this exact situation in a recent HS BV game. I'll tell you at the end of this post how I handled it. (So, if you don't wish to read this lengthy post, you can just skip to there. )

The coach generally wants to selectively apply certain details of the rules when it suits him.
While I truly feel that this is a petty, little game which some coaches play, it does warrant some discussion because it is purely rules based.

Well, I'm pretty good with the rules book, so if the coach wants to play that game, I have no problem with it. He just better be prepared for me to hit him with every detail of it in return! In the long run this is a battle that the coach is going to lose.

So let's take a look at the revelant NFHS rules and evaluate the coach's (and your "partner's" ) claim. You will see that there is a hard way to handle this, but also a very simple way.

First the complicated stuff dealing with substitutions in Rule 3.

3-4-1 ...To request a substitution, a substitute who desires to enter the game shall report to the scorer, giving his/her jersey number and the number of the player being replaced.

My comments: 1) if you don't have a scorer on the sideline, then this obviously doesn't apply. 2) I have never known anyone to enforce the underlined part! (If you have a moron coach like this, I would enforce it. The next time he yells "sub" deny it because his player didn't properly report. See how he likes that.)

3-4-1 part (a)
The substitute shall remain at the scorer's table until a referee beckons the substitute onto the field of play. When there is no separate scorer/timer, incoming substitutes shall report directly to the nearest official from the official area.

My comments: 1) The beckoning matters. We'll get back to that later. 2) The book clearly does say that the sub must report to the nearest official, so the coach has a valid point here, but now we need to ask what do you consider reporting to be? Is standing in the technical area at midfield enough? Do you make them actually say something to you? Must they state their number AND the number of the player being replaced? Is THE COACH saying "sub" allowed or do you insist that the kid coming in actually be the one to say it? And who exactly is the nearest official? Depending upon the position of the referees this changes during the match for both the Dual system and the DSC. Sometimes the Center is physically closer to the benches than the AR1.

3-4-1 part(d)
When an entry is taking place on a throw-in, a goal kick or a corner kick, the substitutes must have reported to the scorer (or official area) prior to the dead-ball situation.

My comments: 1. So the kid MUST be in the official area before the ball goes out of play. No subbing from the bench/team area. I definitely enforce this. It really sharpens up the administration of the game. 2. What other business does a team member have being in the official area during the game? In my opinion, this is your key to handling this situation. (See my advice on using Rule 1 to your advantage below.)

Play Ruling
3.4.1 Situation: Player substitute A12 reports to the scorer as the kickoff takes place. Eight minutes elapse before the first opportunity for a substitution occurs. The referee beckons A12 on the field; however, A12 is withdrawn by the coach of Team A. RULING: Player A12 must enter the game once beckoned.

My comments: 1) So there is a clear rule that says once beckoned, he must enter. 2) Why is this the rule? To prevent time-wasting. The NFHS clock does not stop during a normal substitution, nor can time be added later to account for any loss as in FIFA/USSF. Therefore, it is important not to waste it. 3) If the referee stops the game because he decides that there is a substitute wishing to enter AND beckons him, then that kid MUST enter now. It is the opinon of the referee that matters on whether or not the team member is a substitute, not the coach's. To do otherwise would be a waste of game time.

However, since the reporting issue is not handled precisely by the vast majority of officials, including myself (I consider standing in the official/technical area reporting.), when there is not an official scorer and timer present, it seems that the coach still has a valid point to argue in this substitution issue. Therefore, here is how I put a stop to any foolishness.

I use Rule 1 to my advantage. The NFHS rules clearly state where the coach, other bench personnel, and team members who are not playing are supposed to be during the match.

1-5-1 ...There shall be designated specific areas for each team's bench, separated by an official area for entering substitutes, scorers and timers. ...

1-5-3 ....Coaches, bench personnel and team members shall be restricted to the team area.

Penalty: A coach, player or bench personnel shall be cautioned for unsportsmanlike conduct for violation of this rule.

In short, they have to be in the team area or they are subject to a caution!

Notice that the rule says the official area is "for entering substitutes"! If he doesn't wish to enter, then he can't be there. This is the simple rule which I use to control this activity.

In my recent match, white got a corner kick. When I looked over to the area between the benches, white had two players there and green had one. Thus I prevented the corner kick from being taken and gave the signal to my AR1 to adminster the substitution process (two quick blasts of the whistle). White's coach now made a fuss claiming that he didn't want to sub on the corner and that green shouldn't be allowed to get their player into the game. I told him that if his players were over there, then they had to sub. He disputed that. So I stopped the clock, trotted over to him, and quietly explained that unless they were over there to sub, they couldn't be out of the team area, and in that case I would have to give each of them a caution. Obviously this didn't please him at all. So as I backed away I asked the coach, loudly enough for the opposing bench to hear, "So, your guys really do want to sub, right?" He now said, "Yeah." I told him that was an excellent answer and we got on with the match.
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Old Mon Sep 18, 2006, 06:07am
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Thank you very much - this was much more than I had expected, but detailed enough to answer all of my possible questions. Thanks for taking the time to go into this much detail!

Dave
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Old Mon Sep 18, 2006, 10:20am
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I really like Nevada's explanation and thoroughness, and I'll boil it down to enforce the rules, because they are the rules regardless of whethe a coach agrees. All we then have to do is determine what is trifling, e.g., a player moving into the tech area when the ball goes dead is there for that sub opp as far as I'm concerned; especially if it is the enabling team.

I will however give one warning about players out of the team area on fields which are not spaced correctly or have minimal space; especially if it is the visitor who have no control over the layout.
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 12:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
Let me preface this by telling you that I had this exact situation in a recent HS BV game. I'll tell you at the end of this post how I handled it. (So, if you don't wish to read this lengthy post, you can just skip to there. )

The coach generally wants to selectively apply certain details of the rules when it suits him.
While I truly feel that this is a petty, little game which some coaches play, it does warrant some discussion because it is purely rules based.

Well, I'm pretty good with the rules book, so if the coach wants to play that game, I have no problem with it. He just better be prepared for me to hit him with every detail of it in return! In the long run this is a battle that the coach is going to lose.

So let's take a look at the revelant NFHS rules and evaluate the coach's (and your "partner's" ) claim. You will see that there is a hard way to handle this, but also a very simple way.

First the complicated stuff dealing with substitutions in Rule 3.

3-4-1 ...To request a substitution, a substitute who desires to enter the game shall report to the scorer, giving his/her jersey number and the number of the player being replaced.

My comments: 1) if you don't have a scorer on the sideline, then this obviously doesn't apply. 2) I have never known anyone to enforce the underlined part! (If you have a moron coach like this, I would enforce it. The next time he yells "sub" deny it because his player didn't properly report. See how he likes that.)

3-4-1 part (a)
The substitute shall remain at the scorer's table until a referee beckons the substitute onto the field of play. When there is no separate scorer/timer, incoming substitutes shall report directly to the nearest official from the official area.

My comments: 1) The beckoning matters. We'll get back to that later. 2) The book clearly does say that the sub must report to the nearest official, so the coach has a valid point here, but now we need to ask what do you consider reporting to be? Is standing in the technical area at midfield enough? Do you make them actually say something to you? Must they state their number AND the number of the player being replaced? Is THE COACH saying "sub" allowed or do you insist that the kid coming in actually be the one to say it? And who exactly is the nearest official? Depending upon the position of the referees this changes during the match for both the Dual system and the DSC. Sometimes the Center is physically closer to the benches than the AR1.

3-4-1 part(d)
When an entry is taking place on a throw-in, a goal kick or a corner kick, the substitutes must have reported to the scorer (or official area) prior to the dead-ball situation.

My comments: 1. So the kid MUST be in the official area before the ball goes out of play. No subbing from the bench/team area. I definitely enforce this. It really sharpens up the administration of the game. 2. What other business does a team member have being in the official area during the game? In my opinion, this is your key to handling this situation. (See my advice on using Rule 1 to your advantage below.)

Play Ruling
3.4.1 Situation: Player substitute A12 reports to the scorer as the kickoff takes place. Eight minutes elapse before the first opportunity for a substitution occurs. The referee beckons A12 on the field; however, A12 is withdrawn by the coach of Team A. RULING: Player A12 must enter the game once beckoned.

My comments: 1) So there is a clear rule that says once beckoned, he must enter. 2) Why is this the rule? To prevent time-wasting. The NFHS clock does not stop during a normal substitution, nor can time be added later to account for any loss as in FIFA/USSF. Therefore, it is important not to waste it. 3) If the referee stops the game because he decides that there is a substitute wishing to enter AND beckons him, then that kid MUST enter now. It is the opinon of the referee that matters on whether or not the team member is a substitute, not the coach's. To do otherwise would be a waste of game time.

However, since the reporting issue is not handled precisely by the vast majority of officials, including myself (I consider standing in the official/technical area reporting.), when there is not an official scorer and timer present, it seems that the coach still has a valid point to argue in this substitution issue. Therefore, here is how I put a stop to any foolishness.

I use Rule 1 to my advantage. The NFHS rules clearly state where the coach, other bench personnel, and team members who are not playing are supposed to be during the match.

1-5-1 ...There shall be designated specific areas for each team's bench, separated by an official area for entering substitutes, scorers and timers. ...

1-5-3 ....Coaches, bench personnel and team members shall be restricted to the team area.

Penalty: A coach, player or bench personnel shall be cautioned for unsportsmanlike conduct for violation of this rule.

In short, they have to be in the team area or they are subject to a caution!

Notice that the rule says the official area is "for entering substitutes"! If he doesn't wish to enter, then he can't be there. This is the simple rule which I use to control this activity.

In my recent match, white got a corner kick. When I looked over to the area between the benches, white had two players there and green had one. Thus I prevented the corner kick from being taken and gave the signal to my AR1 to adminster the substitution process (two quick blasts of the whistle). White's coach now made a fuss claiming that he didn't want to sub on the corner and that green shouldn't be allowed to get their player into the game. I told him that if his players were over there, then they had to sub. He disputed that. So I stopped the clock, trotted over to him, and quietly explained that unless they were over there to sub, they couldn't be out of the team area, and in that case I would have to give each of them a caution. Obviously this didn't please him at all. So as I backed away I asked the coach, loudly enough for the opposing bench to hear, "So, your guys really do want to sub, right?" He now said, "Yeah." I told him that was an excellent answer and we got on with the match.


Nevada,

You solution was excellent and in my humble opinion was backed by rule.

MTD, Sr.
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 01:45am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr.
Nevada,

You solution was excellent and in my humble opinion was backed by rule.

MTD, Sr.
Thanks, MTD. Coming from you that means a lot.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old Sun Nov 12, 2006, 11:50am
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wow, seems I would handle these things much differently.

Let's see, the coach is "clearly dissenting" but referee does not want to caution him. Then, when a JV kid is mistakenly standing at midfield, you want to make a power play (to earn respect?!?!?) and make him enter the game?

Then, we get an official to show you how you can book the KID in this situation, just to show the coach how you know the rules.

Soooooooo...... rather than booking a coach, whom you have described as "clearly dissenting", you like the idea of figuring out how to book a kid because his coach has not told him to not stand at midfield unless he is going to sub? All this to figure out how to get at the coach?

POWERFREAKS!
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Old Mon Nov 13, 2006, 08:05am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
wow, seems I would handle these things much differently.

Let's see, the coach is "clearly dissenting" but referee does not want to caution him. Then, when a JV kid is mistakenly standing at midfield, you want to make a power play (to earn respect?!?!?) and make him enter the game?

Then, we get an official to show you how you can book the KID in this situation, just to show the coach how you know the rules.

Soooooooo...... rather than booking a coach, whom you have described as "clearly dissenting", you like the idea of figuring out how to book a kid because his coach has not told him to not stand at midfield unless he is going to sub? All this to figure out how to get at the coach?

POWERFREAKS!
Do you really not understand the difference between a power trip and letting the coach know he is either misunderstanding or misapplying rules; while giving him/her a way out of the dilemna?

However, ""clearly dissenting" but referee does not want to caution " might be a legit issue.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 04:21am
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oh yeah, it is easy to understand. just not sure why anyone would look for a way to book a kid, after having let the coach go with "clearly dissenting" for the match. this smacks of cowardice, not having the guts to deal with the coach correctly, and being willing to go after the kid to get back at the coach. jmo
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 07:23am
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Forget the coach's dissent. That is an entirely separate issue from the substitution question.

Let's say that the coach has behaved perfectly all match. Now he challenges the substitution situation. Please state how you would handle it, since you stated that you would do so differently, but did not disclose exactly what you would do.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 10:54am
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This is pretty easy, nv.

If the player is there and the coach did not intend to sub him (especially a JV game where there is not likely to be truly designated areas for the teams, the sub area, etc...) I would remind the coach of the rule the first time, and ask him to have his players not move to the center line area unless they are ready to substitute.

From there, I would play it by ear. In a JV game, it is not likely that I would book players about this, but I may book the coach for not keeping his players in a designated area. I might even help him mark the area with bags or cones if he needs the help. Varsity games, if it happens again, I might hold the coach responsible for this one, and force the players to sub. However, I am also smart enough to recognize that the player may also mysteriously come up with an injury that needs attention before he even gets onto the field, and would be hard pressed to force the player to enter under those conditions - and the team would have the right to replace the injured "player" who has not even yet made it onto the field.

I recognize that many officials (and coaches) love to get into these little pi$$ing contests, but it seems to me to make very little sense. I know it makes sense to many to do just that, but are we supposed to hold ourselves to the highest standard possible as officials in the match? Relying on the juvenile "well, he started it" philosophy is, well, just that.

btw, clearly above there is heartburn with the coach who was being a pain, and that led to david getting a little ticked at the coach, and wanted to make a point. I understand that, but the suggestions above to take it out by booking a player when the official did not have the guts to book the coach are gutless.

Last edited by huh?; Tue Nov 14, 2006 at 11:01am.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 11:34am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
This is pretty easy, nv.

If the player is there and the coach did not intend to sub him (especially a JV game where there is not likely to be truly designated areas for the teams, the sub area, etc...) I would remind the coach of the rule the first time, and ask him to have his players not move to the center line area unless they are ready to substitute.
That's fine. I don't mind a warning, especially in a jv game. However, would you allow an opponent who was standing next to these "substitutes" to enter at this time now that you've stopped the restart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
From there, I would play it by ear. In a JV game, it is not likely that I would book players about this, but I may book the coach for not keeping his players in a designated area. I might even help him mark the area with bags or cones if he needs the help.
Now you're putting yourself into a position that could cause you trouble. I would not recommend this to another referee. If the coach is inside the designated area and he is not otherwise being unsporting, then there is no rule which allows you to book the coach for his team members leaving the team area. According to 12-8-4a a coach can only be booked for team or bench misconduct when that misconduct CANNOT be attributed to specific individuals. In this case, you clearly have specific individuals who are out of the team area.
If you attempt to caution the coach for this and he knows the rules, he will probably complain about it and cause you a bigger problem. Now if you remove him, you are going to have no rules basis for justifying what you did when you write your report to your governing body. Not a good situation to be in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
btw, clearly above there is heartburn with the coach who was being a pain, and that led to david getting a little ticked at the coach, and wanted to make a point.
While that seems true in this specific instance, I refrain from commenting on what my fellow officials consider to be dissent or not. It is a judgment decision that is up to the individual who was there. I was not. Therefore, I did not comment on the coach's behavior at all in my post.
I also do not believe that it is constructive to belittle or call someone names who is attempting to improve as a referee. David obviously is doing just that since he is on this forum inquiring about the situation that took place. He knows that the coach got to him and he shouldn't have let that happen. He wrote it. He admitted it. He doesn't need me or you to beat him up about it. I'm sure that he learned from it and will do better next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
I understand that, but the suggestions above to take it out by booking a player when the official did not have the guts to book the coach are gutless.
Who suggested that? I've reread all of the posts in this thread and not a single person advocated such. And once again this forum can do without the negative personal attacks.

There is certainly some gamesmanship used by coaches in an attempt to gain an edge for their teams during a contest. Afterall, it is their job to help their team win and if they can get away with something more power to them. Good officials clearly recognize this and each deals with it in their own manner. I happen to give a little of it back to them. When they try to twist the rules in their favor, I crack down on them. It has been quite effective for me. The better coaches grasp the concept quite quickly. In eight years of HS reffing, I have yet to disqualify a coach. I have removed coaches in USSF matches.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 12:30pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
oh yeah, it is easy to understand. just not sure why anyone would look for a way to book a kid, ... snip ..., and being willing to go after the kid to get back at the coach. jmo
No one said they were "willing to go after the kid"; just that they might point out that possibility to the coach to encourage him to resolve the problem. No one would caution a player for that. And it's not "getting back at the coach", again just helping the coach see there are rules; which if correctly followed avoid problems.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 03:04pm
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c'mon, you know better than that cecil - otherwise the original poster would not have mentioned the coach "clearly dissenting" in his initial post, and nvref would not have given this bit of insight into himself:

"The coach generally wants to selectively apply certain details of the rules when it suits him.
While I truly feel that this is a petty, little game which some coaches play, it does warrant some discussion because it is purely rules based.

Well, I'm pretty good with the rules book, so if the coach wants to play that game, I have no problem with it. He just better be prepared for me to hit him with every detail of it in return! In the long run this is a battle that the coach is going to lose."

We have one official here who admits to being willing to play little games with a coach, rather than taking the high road. We also have another who admits to allowing a coach to clearly dissent, then get upset with the coach (who clearly did not understand this part of the book) over a substitution technicality.

I say again, sorry, just not the approach for me.
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Old Tue Nov 14, 2006, 03:11pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
I understand that, but the suggestions above to take it out by booking a player when the official did not have the guts to book the coach are gutless.

NV replied: Who suggested that? I've reread all of the posts in this thread and not a single person advocated such. And once again this forum can do without the negative personal attacks."



Here is where you have told us you were willing to book a kid to win a battle over a coach:

In my recent match, white got a corner kick. When I looked over to the area between the benches, white had two players there and green had one. Thus I prevented the corner kick from being taken and gave the signal to my AR1 to adminster the substitution process (two quick blasts of the whistle). White's coach now made a fuss claiming that he didn't want to sub on the corner and that green shouldn't be allowed to get their player into the game. I told him that if his players were over there, then they had to sub. He disputed that. So I stopped the clock, trotted over to him, and quietly explained that unless they were over there to sub, they couldn't be out of the team area, and in that case I would have to give each of them a caution. Obviously this didn't please him at all. So as I backed away I asked the coach, loudly enough for the opposing bench to hear, "So, your guys really do want to sub, right?" He now said, "Yeah." I told him that was an excellent answer and we got on with the match.

This is not a personal attack, so please don't play that whiney card. You have given it to us in black and white, and make no qualms about this approach. That is your right, but it is my right to be able to tell you I think you have it all wrong with the approach.

Did you diffuse the situation with your threat/promise to book his subs? How about with your end comment to him? I prefer to not fan the flames with a coach, and that is the point I have been making in every post here. You choose to do so, and that is your prerogative, but it just doesn't work for me.

It is instances like this that lead coaches to speak poorly of a referees attitude. I am sure you would not want the smart aleck response from a coach to you, if he caught you in something right?

I know, I know, we here coaches give those types of responses all the time. Again, do we take the high road, or to we try for payback? I have slipped to the payback mode myself, too, but I know it is not the right road.
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