Chelsea

What the laws of the game say about Kepa and Sarri’s stand-off

The Chelsea keeper refused to be substituted during the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday.

Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted by coach Maurizio Sarri near the end of the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, with the Chelsea boss descending into a rage at his player’s refusal to come off. After some confusion, with David Luiz apprarently pleading with Kepa to go off and substitute goalkeeper Willy Caballero windmilling on the touchline to warm up, play carried on with Kepa still in goal for Chelsea. And that’s exactly what the laws of the game say should happen.

“If a player who is about to be replaced refuses to leave the field of play, play continues

Bullet point 9 sets out the procedure when a player refuses to be substituted.

Meaning the referee was quite right to start the game again when it became clear Kepa was not going to let himself be substituted, despite the fourth official having held up the electronic board showing his time was up.

During the match, then, players can disobey their coach's orders and avoid being substituted. What happens when they get back to the dressing room is another matter...