No plans to introduce ‘Kepa Law’ after Carabao Cup incident in which Chelsea keeper refused to leave pitch
- International Football Association Board do not plan on making a ‘Kepa Law’
- The conference confirmed no law exists that requires players to leave field
- Refereeing chief David Elleray believes a law could be exploited tactically
A law ensuring that referees force players to leave the field if they refuse to do so when substituted will not be introduced – because it would open the door to tactical, ‘fabricated’ rows.
That is the view of refereeing chief David Elleray, commenting in the wake of Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s decision to defy his manager’s instruction to come off during their Carabao Cup Final defeat to Manchester City.
Former Premier League referee Elleray, speaking at the conference of lawmakers the International Football Association Board (Ifab) conference in Aberdeen, confirmed that, as it stands, there is no rule that requires a player whose number is held up to leave the field should they not wish to do so.
There are no plans to make it a law that players must leave the field if their number is shown
However, he does not believe that bringing in such a law would be a wise move – as it would encourage time-wasting and simulated disagreements.
Arrizabalaga stunned the world when he flatly refused to come off at Wembley, instantly undermining furious Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri. Some claimed that the officials should have ordered the Spaniard from the field.
Elleray, who is Ifab’s technical director, explained: ‘The laws of the game are not there to settle disputes between players and coaches.
‘The law exists to say “okay, if the player won’t go off, you just get on with the game”…
‘It can’t become a tactic whereby, if the referee is forced to get involved and the player still won’t leave the pitch, do you abandon the game? Might teams use it as a tactic, say if the other team was playing well, to fabricate an argument for two or three minutes to put team’s off their stride?’
Referee Jonathan Moss became involved when Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted
After Kepa refused to come off, boss Maurizio Sarri vented his frustration on the touchline
Elleray believes that such scenarios present a problem which needs to be solved by the club, rather than the officials.
‘If you want to make a substitution and they don’t want to go off, it has to be a problem for that team’s coach,’ he said.
Elleray also praised West Ham legend Billy Bonds, who waded into the row last week.
‘Billy Bonds was saying if he was Kepa’s captain he would have told him to go off,’ he said.
‘That’s team discipline. It shouldn’t be something that the law has to cover. We don’t get involved in who plays, who doesn’t play. We should never get involved because of one incident.’