AFL Rules: Interchange



A Controlling Body may appoint two Interchange Stewards to officiate during a Match. The Interchange Steward shall:
(a) be positioned throughout the Match at or near the Interchange Area;
(b) monitor and approve the interchange of Players made by each Team during a Match; and
(c) report to the Controlling Body any infringement by a Team of this Law 7.


The following procedure shall apply to the interchange of Players during a Match:
(a) the captain of a Team, Team Runner or Official shall advise the Interchange Steward of the Team’s intention to replace a Player who is currently on the Playing Surface for another Player listed on its Team Sheet;
(b) upon being satisfied that the replacement is permitted, the Interchange Steward shall approve the replacement;
(c) a Team may interchange the Players concerned within a period of 3 minutes from the time approval is given by the Interchange Steward, after which the approval shall lapse;
(d) unless Law 7.3 applies, the Players concerned shall leave and enter the Playing Surface through the Interchange Area;
(e) a Player who does not leave the Playing Surface as specified under Law 7.2 (d) is unable to re-enter the Playing Surface for the remainder of the Match;
(f) where a Player does not enter the Playing Surface as specified under Law 7.2 (d), the Interchange Steward and/or a field Umpire shall report the circumstances to the Controlling Body, including the scores at the time. The Controlling Body may determine the matter by way of fine, reversal of Match result or other sanction as it deems appropriate.


7.3.1 Health and Safety of Player
Any Player who is injured during a Match and who, in the opinion of a doctor, trainer or Official, requires the assistance of a stretcher, shall be attended by the Team’s training staff and a stretcher as soon as possible so as to ensure the health and safety of the Player.

7.3.2 Procedure
Where a stretcher is required, the following procedure shall apply:
(a) upon being advised or noticing that a Player requires a stretcher, the field Umpire shall stop play at the earliest opportunity and unless a doctor considers or it is apparent that it is unsafe to do so, the Player must be removed from the Playing Surface on the stretcher by the shortest possible route and taken direct to their Team’s change rooms;
(b) a Team may replace the injured Player with a Player listed on its Team Sheet, who must enter the Playing Surface via the Interchange Area;
(c) the Interchange Steward may allow the Player who is replacing the injured Player to enter the Playing Surface before the injured Player is removed from the Playing Surface;
(d) once the injured Player has been removed from the Playing Surface, the field Umpire shall recommence play as follows depending on the circumstances:
(i) where the football was in dispute at the time play was stopped, by throwing the football;
(ii) where the football was out of bounds at the time play was stopped, by directing the boundary Umpire to throw the football in;
(iii) where a Player had possession of the football at the time play was stopped, by awarding a Free Kick to the Player;
(iv) where a Player had been awarded a Free Kick or a Mark at the time play was stopped, by allowing the Player to dispose of the football.
(e) a Player for whom a stretcher was called shall not resume playing for a period of 20 minutes (excluding intervals between quarters) from the time when the Player left the Playing Surface. After the 20-minute period has expired, the Player may be interchanged in accordance with the procedure set out under Rule 7.2 provided the Player is able, having due regard to their health and safety, to resume playing in the Match; and
(f) Where a stretcher enters the Playing Surface but the Player elects to walk off, all provisions of law 7.3.2 apply but the Player may go to the Interchange Bench.


Where an Interchange Steward is not in attendance at a Match, the field Umpires or emergency Umpire(s) shall perform the duties that the Interchange Steward would have otherwise performed. A Team shall only advise the field Umpire or emergency Umpire of its intention to make an interchange during a period when time is being added on to the playing time in accordance with Law 10.


The Interchange Steward or field Umpire, as the case may be, shall advise the Controlling Body of any breach of this Law 7.