By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer
In Play of the Week 12 we are looking at a rather unusual situation that occurred in the MLS game between Philadelphia Union and Colorado Rapids.
It involves a case of a player re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission, resulting in a second yellow card and send off.
The situation starts when Rapids’ forward Caleb Calvert believes he is the victim of a foul challenge, and goes to ground very close to the goal line.
Rivero, keen to restart the game, initially leaves Calvert on the ground, believing there is little wrong with him and that he will soon rejoin play.
When Calvert stays on the ground, Rivero has no choice but to allow the trainer to enter the field to assess the injury. This is important. No matter what the referee’s personal opinion, he is not a doctor and must allow an assessment.
In order to restart the game, when the trainer arrives, Rivero asks them to leave the field for treatment. The injury is not serious and Calvert is so close to the goal line.
Calvert then starts shouting dissent at AR Vasoli and referee Rivero shows him the yellow card, adhering to one of the initiatives set out by MLS and PRO.
As soon as they walk off the field, Calvert wants to re-enter the game but, at this point, play has restarted. As Calvert is situated at the goal line, the referee cannot give him permission to re-enter.
The law states:
Law 5 The Referee
“An injured player may not be treated on the field of play and may only re-enter after play has restarted; if the ball is in play, re-entry must be from the touchline but if the ball is out of play, it may be from any boundary line.”
You can see AR Vasoli gesturing to Calvert that he must re-enter from the touchline. You can also see fourth official Sorin Stoica explaining to Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni that his player must re-enter from the touchline.
However, without permission, Calvert re-enters the field from the goal line and Rivero is forced to stop the game and issue a second yellow card, which ultimately results in a red card.
If we examine the Laws of the Game, there are six reasons why a player is cautioned, the two that Calvert was cautioned for are as follows:
Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct
Cautionable Offenses. A player is cautioned if guilty of:
– Dissent by word or action
– Entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission”
The others are:
– Delaying the restart of play
– Failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in
– Persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
– Unsporting behavior
This was indeed an unusual situation. Out of the Law’s cautionable offenses, “entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission” is by far the least used yellow card offense. For it to be the second yellow card is extremely rare; I cannot recall this happening before.
Once Calvert came so far onto the field the referee was forced to stop the game. There was no option.
This highlights the need for everyone to know the Laws of the Game and not get caught not knowing the law in any given situation.In this unusual situation, the referee applied law correctly.
At the end, you can see Rapids coach Conor Casey – a former Philadelphia Union player – being dismissed from the technical area for his reaction to Calvert’s red card.
Bench behavior is another PRO and MLS initiative. We expected coaches to behave in a responsible manner and, if they don’t, we expect our officials to penalize them accordingly.