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Question Number: 19483

Law 7 - Match Duration 6/23/2008

RE: Adult

Melvin Hagerman of Colorado Springs, Colorado U.S.A. asks...

No, this one did NOT happen in some first division somewhere . . . yet . . .

As the CR, you start your watch--digital in this case--at the start of a second half. After a while, you look down to check time, say for issuing a yellow card . . . only to discover that the face of your watch has gone blank. No time of day, no counting time up for the match, NOTHING.

Now I realize that referees, to counter this, have started to use two watches. But, for this example, this referee has only one on his/her person.

Eliminate the obvious answers ("Put a new battery in before starting!", "Wear a second watch!", etc.). What is/are the options available for the CR in the situation where the ref's watch blanks out?

Can an AR (or the fourth official if available) wear a watch as well, and start their watch at the same time as the CR?
Could a CR check time-of-day as a reference point (either by a stadium time-of-day clock, bank clock if available, etc.)--i.e. "the second half started at, say, 12:48PM on my watch, it's now 1:10PM, so we're 22 minutes into the second half."?

Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

If you wrote down the kick-off times that's great.

Otherwise bringing a sun dial to the game could help. Or you could ask if anyone started a watch, and hope that it's not the coach that is losing who gives you the time... Otherwise you might just have to abandon the game.

I suppose you could make it up... just wait for people to start yelling "Hey ref, how much longer are you going to let this misery go on?"

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I always tell my ARs to start their watches when I do. Upon finding my watch was dead, I'd go get one of the ARs watches. I know you don't want to hear this but that's why I alway wear 2 watches.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

AR's should be backing up a referee on time. Even in cases where the referee's watch works perfectly, sometimes we can just get so involved in the game time passes without noticing.

If the AR's do not have the time, using an off-field clock as a reference is a valid way of telling game time. There is nothing specified in the Laws as to what timepiece the referee should use.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

I will always tell an AR to back up the time. If noone has the time backed could estimate based 0n the game start time and the time it is and be pretty close.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

I'm one of those referees who considers Murphy's Law and Corollary One to Murphy's Law before doing anything on the field.

What can go wrong will go wrong -- and what goes wrong is the worst possible thing that can go wrong.

So, knowing that when the battery fails in one watch the other WILL fall off my wrist into a deep hole I make sure both assistants have backup clocks and backups for those AND I write down the time of day indicated by any clock I can see or my primary watch before I loose it. If all our watches fail and I can't see time of day I'll ask a coach what time it is. From there it's a WAG.


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