Some football supporters have queried with me, why this season sometimes injured players are made to go off after treatment and sometimes they are not?
The answer of course lies with this season’s rewrite of the Laws of the Game. However, the Laws on treatment have been changed slightly over the last few years, with referees being given circumstances where injured players no longer need to leave the pitch. So let’s look at the situation as a whole, when the referee can allow an injured player remain on the field after treatment.
When a goalkeeper is injured it has never been a requirement that he leaves the field of play after treatment. Obviously, the hassle of changing jersey’s etc. would complicate matters. Also if a goalkeeper and an outfield player should collide and both be injured, they are both entitled to stay on the pitch after treatment, Likewise two players on the same team colliding and requiring treatment, are also now allowed to remain on the pitch.
The Law makers still cling to the pretence that players are not treated on the pitch for minor injuries when we all know that they are, after which they go to the touchline and wait to be called back. However, in cases of serious injury, the Law says the player does not have to leave the pitch for treatment. This may have been the reason why the referee allowed an injured Aston Villa player against Reading to stay on when it was a drop ball restart for accidental injury.
This year’s change, which may have confused the supporters, is that if a player is injured as a result of a physical offence for which the offender is cautioned or sent-off, perhaps a reckless challenge or serious foul play, then the injured player is allowed to remain on the field of play for treatment and not go off after. Providing, the Law says, the assessment and treatment is completed quickly.