Here's a reminder of question number 9, followed by Keith Hackett's answer:

Cesc Fabregas

Question number 9
Spain are playing in a quarter-final at Euro 2008 when one of the opposition players is substituted. The player is not pleased. He walks to the touchline and swaps places with a teammate, who is substituting him. Then, out of frustration, he throws his shirt to the ground, walks over and punches the fourth official.

He is presumably sent to the stands, or to the dressing room. But the question is, will his team be reduced to 10 players or have they got away with it, because the substitution had been completed by that point? And what would be his punishment?

Keith Hackett's answer
The question states that the substitution has taken place. Therefore we are considering the player who has come off and hit the fourth official is now no longer an active member of the team.

He is guilty of a violent conduct offence and will be dismissed to the stand and reported to the authorities. Attacking an official is a serious offence and the player's days of taking part in any football matches in the future are numbered.

The player is likely to face a life ban. Many years ago I was refereeing a local junior cup semi-final and a player who had left the field assaulted a spectator, which I reported to the County FA. His playing days were ended when he was given a sine die ban.

In this case the player that has been substituted on will be able to remain on the field and the team will play on with 11 men. The referee in these circumstances will NOT reduce the team to 10 men.

However, I feel there is an important point to make regarding substitutions.

Say the player coming on had not yet entered the field of play - i.e. if he was still getting his studs checked by the fourth official or receiving instructions from his manager when the violent conduct offence took place - then the substitution would not be complete.

The team would then have to continue with 10 men.

Thanks to RichBarber for this question.

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