Well, not the club I visited last weekend to accompany a new referee. The new FA referee was experienced as club official and performed the new player passes check professionally in the dressingroom.
“Please all stand up and once you hear your name you can sit down.” Only eight sat down and three were still standing. No digital passes uploaded in the new app. “Ref, it’s the first O17 competition game this season. We were supposed to play one class lower (B cat). Three players are slightly older and normally allowed to play O17.” Etc etc.
The calm ref simply told them 8 could play against 11 of the visitors. Take it or leave it. But when they were about to quit, the visting coach offered to play 11:11. But only on the condition they would agree they would win formally and with a high score this would go on the books instead.
Everybody happy, apart from the ref. He had to count 17 guest team goals while expecting a more challenging game as his FA debut. It may be considered a miracle that the home players didn’t commit any major fouls and played in a sporting manner till the final whistle.
The diabolic choice between clear rules and haaving juvenile players enjoy their first game of the season was made in favour of the beautiful sport of football.