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Laws of the Game


3. Substitution procedure

The names of the substitutes must be given to the referee before the start of the match. Any substitute not named by this time may not take part in the match.

To replace a player with a substitute, the following must be observed:

  • the referee must be informed before any substitution is made

  • the player being substituted:

    • receives the referee’s permission to leave the field of play, unless already off the field, and must leave by the nearest point on the boundary line unless the referee indicates that the player may leave directly and immediately at the halfway line or another point (e.g. for safety/security or injury)

    • must go immediately to the technical area or dressing room and takes no further part in the match, except where return substitutions are permitted

  • if a player who is to be substituted refuses to leave, play continues

The substitute only enters:

  • during a stoppage in play

  • at the halfway line

  • after the player being replaced has left

  • after receiving a signal from the referee

The substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play; from that moment, the replaced player becomes a substituted player and the substitute becomes a player and can take any restart.

All substituted players and substitutes are subject to the referee’s authority whether they play or not.