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Question Number: 30221

Law 7 - Match Duration 3/25/2016

RE: Under 14

Sebastian of Roanoke, Virginia USA asks...

If a half is ended a couple minutes early, should that time be added at the end of the next half? If so, do I have to have the coaches of bothe team's permission to add that time?

Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Hello Sebastian,
It is far easier to fix a match ended early in the 2nd half then to fix a time error from the first! You should try to answer our ' 2016 March You Call IT! 'as it deals with exactly this type of question. It is possible we will not publish this until April 1st!

It is IMPOSSIBLE under the LOTG to add lost time in the first half to the end of the second half. Certainly protestable! This mistake MUST be rectified prior to the 2nd half restart otherwise the league is going to have to weigh in! The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.

The referee has the authority to alter the break time depending on the ROC that state if a minimum is required without the coaches input but it would be best if all were on board , but match time alterations MUST be agreed upon BEFORE the game has started

It is plausible to restart the 1st half and finish off the time remaining, take a half time break, then start the 2nd half if you notice it the time was still to be played and can get then back out on the field to do so. The break whistle was an inadvertent stoppage you drop ball restart at where the ball was or at whatever restart situation might have been in play. Better get better watches (should have two) better ARs or 4th for not helping out or a better timekeeper if a horn ending high school match!!

It is less plausible to restart the 1st half AFTER the half time break before the 2nd half finish the first half then switch sides and restart with the 2nd half because you are supposed to have a break in between the 2 halves. Still this might be permitted as a one time error by the league or association looking for a reason not to replay.

Periods of play
The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise mutually
agreed between the referee and the two teams. Any agreement to alter the
duration of the periods of play (e.g. to reduce each half to 40 minutes because
of insufficient light) must be made before the start of play and must comply
with competition rules.
Half-time interval
Players are entitled to an interval at half-time.
The half-time interval must not exceed 15 minutes.
Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval.
The duration of the half-time interval may be altered only with the consent of
the referee

From our pitch to your pitch in the spirit of fair play!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sebastian
Prevention is better than cure. Referees should ensure that the game is timed properly and that the correct length of half is played. Can be an issue at underage due to the differing times for each age group.
Anyway the Laws expressly state and I quote *the referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.*
The advice is to fix it immediately by restarting play or if that is not possible to play the 2nd half as normal and report the timing error to the competition organisers.
Also it is only likely to be a challenge if the game is tight with much at stake. On blowouts, one sided games, reasonable coaches etc a few minutes will never be questioned. In fact the challenge for the referee is dealing with those that want the game ended early in one side affairs.
A final word. Many times the issue is not known to anyone other than the referee. I once was involved as a coach in a game where the referee ended the first half at 32 minutes and he ended the 2nd half at 33. He thought it was 30 minutes a half rather than 35 and no one questioned him. The first half timing was totally unnoticed by the visiting team and they got upset when he blew it up at 33 in the 2nd half. If he had known and blew it up at 35 + it would have been a non issue. Anyway nothing came of it as while the team was unhappy at the time it decided that the result stood.

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