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A great match is extended into overtime. Still tied at 3 apiece with the match requiring a winner we are ready to begin the penalty shoot out when a bought of lightening force a delay. During the long delay several of the on field players of one team have to leave to catch the ferry back home or risk being stranded for the evening. When the lightening subsides the one team only has 6 players who were on the field at the time the match ended. The referee decides to reduce the other team to 6 players as well is this acceptable to the LOTG ?

Your match Your Decision Your Reputation!


The LOTG provide us with guidance and are in place to provide for FAIR competition between opposing teams. In this case we have an unusual situation, unfortunately the LOTG do not always recognize unusual situations, which is why those who officiate often revert to the standby option of common sense.

Matches are generally played with the intent of a final outcome but it can end tied. If a winner IS necessary, the LOTG provide us with KFTPM as the methodology to break that tie to achieve a winner!!

Now mother nature deciding to intervene, is not something we can brush away. The reality that fields close, or lights fail or people have to go home or travel is a fact of life. This delay creates a problem. . Now IF a coach decided to send players away WITHOUT conferring with the opposition coach or notifying the officials as a CR I would be miffed when getting the all clear to continue I was looking at 11 eligible players from one team and only 6 eligible players off the other team. Now I am forced to decide what options are available ?

If you were thinking to abandon stating there was less than 7 minimum to continue or start you would be INCORRECT to use that as the reason. KFTPM are NOT part of the match! They are ONLY a way to declare a winner.

Some used this piece of LAW a justification
"If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents and the referee must be informed of the name and number of each player excluded.".

HOWEVER< There is a portion of law when taking KFTPM that states if an eligible player is NOT on the field at the taking of their turn the attempt is automatically counted as a miss.

It is conceivable that the referee COULD start the KFTPM and if after 6 attempts the two teams were STILL tied, the team with 6 would have to watch in disbelief as the 5 remaining opponents each had a go and their missing players' turns would all be counted as misses, so if any of the 5 opponent's were to score the match would be over.

This could actually FIT the LOTG provisions BUT is the referee OBLIGATED to do so? It seems blatantly unfair? In reality the ROC (rules of the completion) hopefully would give a, lets do this another day option. The NEW provision in the LOTG which allows REDUCE to EQUATE at ANYTIME during KFTPM could be a viable option although the missing players are NOT sent off or injured as the reason they are missing? We say they had to catch the ferry but is it conceivable eligible players who are not there are hiding in the change room too scared to participate?

In our scenario the referee went ahead and reduced to equate . The team with 6 eligible players only, WON in the 8th shootout opportunity. So now the losing team of 11 is upset their 5 guys were discounted because the opposition 5 decided not to be there (no matter the reason) and tries to find a wriggle out clause saying, hey this is not something supported under the LOTG. In truth no referee could say for certain what the committee might advise. They could overturn the result, schedule just the KFTPM or a whole new match? If it was done with the consent of the opposing team and the referee was aware of the problem early on it is possible the rules committee in review could permit the result to stand. We have to wonder IF the referee HAD gone with 11 versus 6 and counted the missing players as off the field thus automatic misses would the committee rule to replay or restart KFTPM or allow the result to stand?

Your Match Your Decision Your Reputation
Common sense is not always so common !

Paul D'Imperio USA Referee
This is acceptable to the Laws of the Game because it states in Law 10 2016 that "If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents and the referee must be informed of the name and number of each player excluded.". The team always must reduce to the make the numbers the same for both teams.

Sahid Chicago IL USA Referee
Yes, the seven player minimum does not apply during shoot outs and the ref must reduce to equate as long as each team takes five kicks each.

Simon from Gladstone queensland Australia Referee
Yes. If the kicks from penalty mark are required to determine the winner of the match, then if one team has a greater number of players than its opposition, it must reduce its number to the same number of players (p. 73). The ref must not abandon the game if the number is less than 7 players (p.74). However, the issue is this ‘long delay’ for a “bout of lightening”. The LOTG is a framework of rules to provide a ‘fair’ response – but assume a straight-forward situation. When multiple concurrent issues arise, this puts the ‘rules’ in conflict with common sense or fairness. Assuming this is an adult match (90 mins of normal duration), extra time for another 30 mins, means the game is now at least 135 mins after kick off. It is not stated how long the lightening delay, but the need for some players, to leave (to catch a ferry) is a consideration outside of the LOTG framework. This is similar to some night games which have (noise/light) restrictions (where local government bylaws) limit games must not extend past 11:00 pm, or lights fail. This also will affect the spectators, and match officials who do not live locally. These matters may be addressed in the rules of the competition, but if not then mutual agreements may have to be sought. The next phase is a penalty shootout, involving players on the field at the end of match. It doesn’t say this has to take place now, this could be done another day.

J A Lipscomb Chattanooga Tennessee USA
(But former referee) Law 10 in its current form explicitly states that a team being reduced to fewer than 7 players is *not* a reason to abandon the match during the penalties (although it is during the rest of the match). Your two options are (i) reduce the other team to match (that team of course choosing which of its own players it wishes to exclude) or (ii) require the now-short team to forfeit the kicks of the departed players. Both options can claim some support in the text, but as a practical matter, sportsmanship dictates solution (i). An additional factor in favor of this plan: since the result of option (ii) is virtually a foregone conclusion, if there is a protest, it can be resolved without speculation on the alternative outcome. If this situation was foreseen when the bad weather hit, you might also have ruled that the weather foreclosed a resumption of play, and abandoned the match right then (depending on competition rules), but it's too late for that once the lightning is over.

Steve Quinn Perth Western Australia Australia Referee
Kicks from the Penalty Mark are governed by Law 10 (Determining the Outcome of a Match), and also by Law 14 (The Penalty Kick)and is set down in some detail. First of all, the KFTPM are taken "after the match has ended" (10.3) and are not governed by the minimum 7 player rule ("The referee must not abandon the match if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players") The problem is, what does it say about players not being there to take their kicks? It is clear that "only players on the field of play" (or temporarily off it) are eligible to take a kick. So what if a team is short of a full 11? This can be covered in two places: 1 "If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents..." 2 "Kicks from the penalty mark must not be delayed for a player who leaves the field of play. The player’s kick will be forfeited (not scored) if the player does not return in time to take a kick..." So here we have two different ways to deal with missing players, Reduce to Equate, or Forfeit the Kick? Which applies here? Nothing in (my) point 1 says it only applies to players who have been Dismissed (though this is the usual reason). But, on the other hand, the players who left to get their ferries have certainly left the field (my point 2). It seems logical to me, that point 2 is there to deal with players who have just disappeared and cannot be found. Rather than hang about waiting for them, the kick is forfeited. However the players who left to get home are not in this case, so I suggest we treat them as if they were injured: If one of them is the goalkeeper, they can be replaced; for the others we reduce to equate. This is the fairest thing that can be done in very unusual circumstances, and in no way runs against the LOTG.

George Foster Fredericksburg VA USA Referee
There are three relevant passages from the LOTG 2016 that apply: Law 3 states: "A match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players. Law 10 states both: "Kicks from the penalty mark are taken after the match has ended and unless otherwise stated, the relevant Laws of the Game apply." and "The referee must not abandon the match if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players." Normally, we would be bound by the minimum required players by Law 3. However, in this case, the players did not leave until after the end of the regular time and overtime. Since this is after the match and the KFTM procedures clearing identify procedures that could result in reducing the number of players on each team below seven players, the decision to reduce the opponents and then continue the KFTM is correct. Note: If the match had been suspended with even 1 second left in the proscribed overtime, then the match should be abandoned based on the lack of players.

Joe Schmitt louisville KY United States Coach
Per the laws, If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents and the referee must be informed of the name and number of each player excluded. Sounds like the ref was correct.

Russell Sydney Australia Referee
Yes, this is acceptable. Although the LOTG state that a match cannot start (existing Law) or continue (new Law) if either team has less then seven players, it also states that kicks from the mark are taken 'after' a match has ended. (LOTG = If at the end of the match and before or during the kicks one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce its numbers to the same number as its opponents...) Conditions related to goalkeeper still apply (LOTG = A goalkeeper who is unable to continue before or during the kicks and whose team has not used its maximum permitted number of substitutes, may be replaced by a named substitute, or a player excluded to equalise the number). And as covered in the replies to a recent post (post #31201), "No matter who replaces the keeper, they are entitled to take a kick provided the keeper they are replacing has not yet kicked. The MAY NOT TAKE A KICK refers to the original keeper as he is no longer eligible.

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