What should the referee do if a player of a team leaves the game field and doesn't come back until the end of the game? The player just left without asking the referee.
This player deserves a caution (yellow card) as it is mentioned in Law 12. When you cannot book the player because of his/her having left the pitch, you just go and explain the situation to the captain and tell him that the player is booked.
It is used too when a player injuries him/herself while committing serious foul play : you cannot show the red card to the player being sent to hospital, so you go to explain to the captain.
It depends. If this is all the information I have, I would probably would be doing nothing and allowing the team to make a substitution at the next stoppage.
The FIFA Laws of the Game state:
A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences:
- deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission
The only explicit exception given in the Laws of the Game is this:
If a player accidentally crosses one of the boundary lines of the field of play, he is not deemed to have committed an infringement. Going off the field of play may be considered to be part of a playing movement.
However, there is no prohibition on granting permission after the fact, or allowing implicit permission. There are many times where this should be done, eg. if a player:
is injured and in pain and makes their way off the field for treatment.
- It is far better to have someone off the field getting medical attention instead of lying on the field in clear discomfort, in the way of other players and at risk of being struck by another player or the ball. If they're bleeding, it's better they're off the field too.
is feeling unwell.
- If a player is ill (and particularly if they're about to vomit or discharge some other bodily fluids on the field) it is much better that they're off the field. Aside from this, a player who has a sudden bout of nausea or dizziness is a hazard to themselves and other players due to the collision risk.
has had a personal or work emergency they need to attend to.
- If a player has left the field due to a emergency work call-in (think paramedic / firefighter / police officer) or a sick or injured relative, the decision not to grant implicit permission or permission after the fact is going to potentially antagonise or agitate an entire team, making match control very difficult from that point onwards. At the lowest levels of the game, this may inspire a mass walk-off. This would all be for no particularly good reason.
is being abused or assaulted by spectators
- If a player has had objects thrown at them from off the field or is receiving verbal abuse, particularly of the racial / religious / sexist kind. (the ones that tend to be very upsetting, and rightfully so), once again, this is going to be a flash point if you punish them for getting off the field and out of harm's way. In this situation it is also pretty unlikely that the game would continue, but cautioning them is going to make it very difficult to get off the field without large problems with their teammates.
If a player left the field and didn't come back, and I had no idea what for (as in the question), I believe it would be pretty safe to assume that it fit into one of the above categories.
Of course, in all of these situations, if the player attempted to re-enter the field without permission, they would be cautioned - a player suddenly appearing on the field unmarked when their team has possession, or coming on to apply immediate pressure to the opposition is unfair to the opposition and must be dealt with accordingly.
There are only three instances where I wouldn't implicitly grant permission for a player to leave the field without permission and would caution them, ie. when a player:
- leaves the field to start a confrontation with opponents or spectators, or otherwise commit an offence
- leaves the field to attempt to bend the offside law, or otherwise gain some sort of unfair tactical advantage
- leaves the field to make a point against a particular refereeing decision or the refereeing in general.
However, after all has been said, if a referee decides that they haven't provided implicit or after-the-fact permission, and the player has deliberately left the field (and it was not part of a natural playing movement) they are well within their rights to caution the player. They of course then must wear the consequences of that decision.