Akademija Pandev sent an official apeal to FFM for Sunday’s 1:0 defeat by Shkendija in Tetovo because for 15 minutes the hosts played without the necessary one U21 player after the player fielded as U21 got sent off. We examined the situation to every detail and therefore we present you the answer why there is no case here, but we also add that FFM must change the regulations and make them more precise in order to prevent future disputes like this one.
photo by KF Shkendija: moment of the disputed game
Article 20 point 3 of the 1.MFL playing regulations says: “Every team must start and end the first half with a Macedonian U21 player.”
And that is the problem. The rule is not precised. There is nowhere writen how should teams behave in case of an expulsion of the U21 player during the first half.
It is clear that under this rule it was ment for the teams to have an U21 player for the entire first 45 minutes, but that is nowhere precised. Instead, it says that a team must START and END the first half with a U21 player. That’s what Shkendija actually did.
Fuel to this fire adds Article 100 point 10 of the regulations for competitions (different one that the previous) where it is writen: “A team will lose the game on green table if HAS PLAYED without an U21 plater.” Akademija Pandev is counting on these words for a green table 3 points because after Enis Fazlagikj’s red card in the 21st minute Shkendija played 15 minutes without an U21 player since Shefit Shefiti came in in the 36th minute.
The problem is that both articles that talk about this rule are contradictory between themselves. Shkendija did played 15 minutes without an U21 player, but on the other hand they started and the ended the first half with an U21 player.
In this case the real problem isn’t in Shkendija, nor in Akademija Pandev, because they both act on an existing articles that are contradictory, but in FFM and the commission that makes the regulations. They never assumed scenario like this one.
Another problem is that even in a scenario where the team will have to field another U21 team by making a quick substitution, it would have to do it so fast that is almost impossible not to spend few minutes without an U21 player. Have in mind that a player needs to warm up before entering a game in order to avoid a posible injury. The rule does not say that the referee must stop the game and wait for the substitution, like when a keeper is sent off.
This case should be the starting point for FFM to precise its regulations. We think that in case of an U21 player to be sent off, the team shound not be forced to make a substitution and field another U21 player.