… Players have right to refuse being substituted
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga

… Players have right to refuse being substituted

Embattled Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga may have set a bad precedent that will challenge and even disrupt football everywhere in the world by refusing to be substituted during the clubs loss to Manchester City on Sunday. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game cover this very scenario under ‘Law 3’. Under the ‘substitution procedure’ section, the law states: ‘if a player who is to be replaced refuses to leave, play continues’. Unfortunately for coaches, there is little that can be done to force the player off the pitch and they are within their rights to remain. Arrizabalaga resisted coach Maurizio Sarri’s attempt to substitute him late in extra time of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, which left his manager seething on the touchline. Arrizabalaga had just been treated for cramp and, with the game at 0-0, Sarri was preparing to bring on reserve keeper Willy
Caballero in his place ahead of a penalty shootout. But after some furious finger-wagging and screams of “NO!”, Sarri was forced to give in. Referee Jonathan Moss ran over to confirm whether Arrizabalaga was going off or not and Sarri, begrudgingly backed down before storming off down the tunnel – but later returned. Meanwhile Caballero was a bemused spectator. Arrizabalaga went on to save Leroy Sane’s spot kick – bringing out a fist pump from
Sarri – but Raheem Sterling netted the winning penalty as Manchester City were crowned Carabao Cup champions for a second year running with a 4-3 shootout win. Sarri didn’t react at full-time and went straight off the pitch while his players looked dejected in defeat. Despite the public fall out, both player and manager have looked to play down the incident, brushing it off as a misunderstanding. The Chelsea board are also choosing not to punish the goalkeeper for openly disobeying his coach. It appears the matter is going to be put to bed, despite Sarri admitting he was angry about the situation: ‘‘Kepa was right, but wrong in the way he conducted himself. I was really angry. I want to talk with him because he needs to understand that we can get in trouble, especially with you (the media),” Sarri was quoted as saying.

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