THE attack by former Manchester United player, Patrice Evra, on a fan of his present club Marseille, gives rise to a number of questions.

For those who haven’t seen it, Evra, a substitute for Marseille, was warming up with the rest of the squad before a Europa League tie.

Annoyed by continual abuse from the Marseille fan, Evra jumped at him feet first.

He was sent off by the referee, so here’s the first question.

Is an attack on a spectator a sending-off offence? It certainly is.

The Law says, violent conduct can be against an opponent, a team mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person.

Next, can a substitute or indeed a player be sent off before the game starts? The Law changes last season extended the referees’ power to punish players for misconduct.

Previously this began when the referee stepped on to the pitch to start the game.

It now starts when the referee makes his pitch inspection prior to the match.

The anomaly here, is that the referees’ duties in the Laws of the Game, do not include inspecting the pitch.

It is however, something that is expected to happen and normally this will be well in advance of the players’ warm up. Substitutes are of course, subject to the referees’ authority, whether they play or not.

So what does it mean to a team to have a substitute sent off before play starts? It doesn’t mean that the team have to use one less substitute, but they have one less to choose from.

What if it was a player sent off? Here is gets a little muddied. What the law now says is that, if it is before the team sheet is handed-in, he can be replaced by another player.

If it’s after the team sheet is submitted, he can be replaced but only by one of the named substitutes so their substitutes to choose from are reduced by one.

Why do I say muddied? Simply because not all competitions require team sheets.