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Question Number: 30120

Law 7 - Match Duration 2/17/2016

RE: Rec, Select & Competive Adult

Jimmy of Houston, Texas US asks...

The referee called for a penalty kick at the end of the game and after the penalty kick was scored, the referee ended the game by blowing his whistle and not realizing his AR had called a violation on the offense. The referee had the team to retake the penalty and the penalty was missed.
This real incident happened in a match between two premier division teams of HFA League in Houston, Texas. The team had protested the referees decision to retake the penalty kick. Your inputs are very important and will be shared with the committee for reviewing this protest.
Was the referees decision correct to retake the penalty after the game was ended also can the game be ended on a dead ball?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
my understanding the referee correctly awarded a PK at the very end of the match? But did not tell anyone it was an extended time PK and there would be no additional play? He blew the whistle to start the PK then again awarding the goal
Then changed his mind and restarted?
DID he blow three times point to the midpoint and declare the match was over?
ONLY then changed his mind?

A match can indeed end on a dead-ball that goes into touch with no restart! The LOTG allow for a PK to be concluded if ALL match time has expired. Generally if this is so the referee should make BOTH teams aware there is NO follow up play as match time has expired! The match is essentially over! We are only awaiting whether a goal will be added to the official tally! So yes the match can be officially over just awaiting the result of the PK.

I would like to see how the referee worded his match report ? If he actually stated I ended the match and was walking away when the AR reminded me I had not signaled the Pk restart with a whistle then the appeal has greater merit. The confusion here lies in the extended aspect of a PK in that all time is over. An extended PK is only necessary if that PK foul occurred on the last second of play. It is far better to allow some secondary follow up and or a restart kick off . This allows for a mistake to be rectified

Once the PK signal was given the argument will be the referee accepted a goal was scored and immediately blew the whistle before conferring with both ARs/4th that the Pk was conducted properly!

One of the ARs reports that the team taking the PK had violated the procedures with some sort of violation? The AR has no authority to demand a retake only report to the referee what he thinks occurred! This would have to be something that occurred out of sight of the referee as NEW information or a realization he has just made a glaring error.
If there was serious violation by the team taking the PK the LOTG demand that a PK scored be nullified and retaken as a matter of procedure. The far AR or 4th in behind may be the one to witness the violation as the near AR on the goal line is concentrating on the keeper and referee is usually on the shooter and noticeable encroachment by either teams.
The LOTG permit the referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided
that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

The argument that he has terminated the match will be the argument put forth by the team awarded the goal.
It is a good argument except that an extended pk occurs only as a procedural irregularity after the match time had expired. Its ONLY outcome will be to discern if a goal is to be added to the match total or not. And its ONLY Condition is that procedure must be performed correctly. I think here the timing is one where the probability of the whistle and the ability to relay information is conflicted by no radio where 'Houston we have a problem!' should hit the airwaves IMMEDIATELY. This information must be delivered ASAP as a oops he did not see that! Not a long discussion with others then oops if it was to be presented as a disgruntled coach talking to an AR who then talks to referee then change the decision is not credible. Too much time passes and a review is not possible. The AR must has immediate valid information and if the referee accepts the violation then the PK MUST be retaken!
I agree the mechanics suck and there should be some review of procedures but fair is fair. If a PK taken improperly is the difference between winning or losing or tying then the outcome is tainted. The Pk must be performed correctly.

If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken
and, before the ball is in play, a team-mate of the player taking the kick or the kicker infringes the Laws of the Game:
• the referee allows the kick to be taken
• if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken

My question what violation occurred that the referee was so unaware of but so important it is a reason to retake? Was it misconduct of a VC nature ? No cards? Was it simple encroachment? It can not be for something like too many men on the FOP as the match is over. Given we just watched Suarez score a PK on a tap over trick PK by Messi where Suarez was inside the penalty arc and perhaps a step into the PA the trifling aspects of encroachment really do bite us hard in the other competitions

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jimmy
Thanks for the question and it is a real pickle caused by poor mechanics. I might begin by saying a game can end on a dead ball. If the ball is out of play the referee can end the game. There is no debate about that.
Now we must assume that all was in order up up to the moment that the goal was scored and then the AR stepped in to say that there was an infringement by the scoring team. What that could be is somewhat questionable to me as the AR is generally only concerned with goalkeeper infringements and the ball crossing the line. For the kick to be retaken the kicking team had to infringe the Laws which generally is encroachment into the penalty area or something else such as verbal distraction, USB etc which is usually picked up by the referee. That is the first point.
Second point is that did the referee actually end the game? Blowing the whistle could signal that the referee was not happy with the kick due to an infringement in which case he was perfectly entitled to order a retake. I doubt very much that once the referee went with a retake that he will confirm that he did terminate the match in which case no further play could be allowed.
Third point is that the law is somewhat mute on what constitutes termination of a match. The International Boards use of the word *termination* is, as in a number of other cases, a bit loose, suggesting only that the game is declared to be ended (as in the final paragraph of Law 5 on 'Decisions of the Referee').
For me if it is an instant reversal of any decision connected with play and perhaps on the intervention of an AR with new information then the game is not declared ended or terminated. If the AR stepped in instantly here to alert the referee of an infringement which was accepted then the game was not ended. Indeed to ignore that new information would be perilous as an infringement took place before the penalty goal was scored. If on the other hand teams have begun to walk off along with the referee and it is understood that the game is over then that is too late if he changes his mind IMHO. The game is over.
For me the decision will rest on the referees report. If he states that the game had in fact not ended then the retake was perfectly acceptable for an infringement by the kicking team and as it was a miss then no goal. The laws allow for a penalty kick to be completed which includes a retake even if time has expired.
As a guess the referee IMO may confirm those facts in which case there is no basis for a favourable outcome of the appeal. If one thinks about there can be no other decision as the referee will have to confirm that there was a genuine infringement during play- fact for the retake to happen and that play was not ended - fact as to why else would he allow the kick to be retaken and that time can and must be extended to allow a PK to be completed. If he confirms anything else he will have to state that he made a serious error in Law and that he had in fact declared the game ended. Cannot see that happening.
Another consideration to bear in mind is that panels are rarely expert in the LotG or the subtlety of the Law. A decision can be arrived at based on what they think is correct. A case in point was the infamous bouncing ball penalty kick in Italy that was given correctly by the referee. The first appeal ruled in favor of disallowing the goal whereas the next level appeal correctly ruled that the correct decision was made by the referee to award the goal.
The learning outcome here, also in respect of another recent question, is to not end the game in such circumstances. I will always find a few more seconds to ensure that all is in order. Some refs including my colleague Ref Dawson & myself will actually go with a restart such as a kick off or allow play to move on so that there is no possibility of confusion or going back. Had the referee here went with a kick off restart on the first penalty would there have been any debate had he been prevented by his AR from doing so and then ordering a retake? Indeed if on the second penalty he allowed say the goal kick or the GK to punt the ball downfield or play to continue would there be any question raised about the timing and mechanics? None would be the answer. Might be complaints about the reason for the retake yet that is opinion based.

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Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hi Jimmy,
There is nothing incorrect about ending a match on a dead ball. A ball into touch with no restart time left.

Referees do manage to dig themselves into trouble using poor mechanics and not following procedures.
The concept of eye contact, positioning, looking for confirmation, before signalling to the rest of the world is ingrained in countless training seminars through out a referees career. The blowing of a whistle at the taking of a PK to start it and to end it is NOT a signal the match is over only that the Pk is over so no one need do anything further. The fact this was a dead ball ending has created some unintended consequences as this thinking the match was already finished prior to the Pk occurring was only to see if the score line would be altered. How did or was there any explanation by the referee to explain this was an extended PK with no follow up play to the teams prior to the PK?

The essential question for your review committee by the team denied their goal!
WAS the match correctly terminated before credible neutral information was made known to the referee that the PK was conducted improperly?

If you do decide this was so and want to uphold the initial goal it creates an additional dilemma as now the OTHER team might have a reason to protest the referee erred under the LOTG in his handing of the PK? No one can argue opinion, even a poor one, but the referee cannot violate the LOTG.

The AR or 4th as neutral officials have every right to report incidents that occur out of sight of the referee. You neglected to inform us what reasoning was given for the retake? Just that the team taking the EXTENDED PK had infringed in some manner?

I will tell you that procedural misconduct by the officials who err in the PK process have created conditions where the entire match was ordered to be replayed.

Extended PK with no time remaining is a stronger case for termination once the referee decides the PK was over. The panel is in agreement that the addition of some follow up time or a kick off if at all possible is a preferable arrangement.

For us the key is in the timing of the new neutral information. If there were no radio communication it is not inconceivable that it takes a few moments to convey something unseen. I can recall in a youth tournament u 18 the official blowing 3 long to indicate a match end unaware of a fight started inside the far PA started by an attacker who hit a defender upon exiting the PA who followed him to exact revenge, witnessed by the far AR, took a moment or two to get the referees attention, fight was broken up, cards issued and an EXTENDED PK awarded as the new information was credible to wave the match ending whistle as having occurred FIRST!

My only suggestion is to uphold the no goal retake unless it is conclusively proven the referee had erred under the LOTG . We can live with ugly decisions created by poor mechanics or procedures but not with those that are in conflict with the LOTG!

from our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play

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