AT the Carabao Cup Final a couple of weeks ago, there was the unusual occurrence of a player refusing to be substituted.

Kepa Arrizabalaga waved away attempts by Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to replace him.

Kepa who had received treatment before the game, said he was not disobeying the manager, but signalling to say that he was fit to continue.

The club didn’t believe him and fined him a week’s wages and dropped him from their next game.

Whatever the truth, it raises the question of what action the referee should take if a player refuses to be substituted.

Unusual but not unknown, and it has happened to me, but the situation was different.

At a stoppage in play the club indicated they wanted to make a substitution.

However, the substitute wasn’t ready to come on.

I therefore told the club I wasn’t going to delay the game and they could make the substitution at the next stoppage.

By that time, however, the player due to be substituted, scored a goal.

He obviously felt he should be allowed to continue and refused to go off.

The Law is quite explicit on the action to be taken. It says ‘play continues’. I had no power as referee to force the player to leave.

The Law says the substitution is completed when the substitute enters the field of play, but that should not be before the player being replaced has left.

This is always followed in the higher leagues, but sadly not always at lower levels.

Clubs think I am being pernickety when I insist on this happening, but referees have been caught with 12 players on one side, sometimes resulting from slack control of substitutions.

What happens if the referee finds a 12th player on the pitch?

He must, of course, be sent off, but supposing the referee only discovers it after a goal has been scored.

In that case, if the team with 12 players have scored the goal it is disallowed, but if the other team has scored, the goal stands.