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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30353

Law 7 - Match Duration 4/26/2016

RE: Select Under 13

Brian Cole of Topeka, Kansas Isa asks...

Our team was awarded a corner kick at the end of the game as time is expiring. We place ball, kick, as ball is in air, ref blows whistle, we score.

Ref said 'no score' game over. I asked ref about allowing the play to finish. He said 'no' I called game.

I think this is not right if you allow kick.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
It is a matter of fact that the referee is the sole timekeeper and when the referee ends play with the final whistle no further play or goal can be scored after this. So there is no onus on the referee to allow play to continue or to a finish in such circumstances.
Should it happen. IMHO while it is technically correct it is unhelpful and unneeded in the game and it causes all sorts of rancour. Now we all know that there are many different timing methods. Some referees, perhaps used with other exact timing sports, account for every single second and when the watch reaches zero the game is ended no matter what. Many using this method also see a final play out by allowing a few seconds. Others which are the majority account for lost time more flexibly with a rough estimate so a few seconds can be found / lost either way.
If this was my game I would have seen the play out with the goal allowed or probably better not got there in the first place with play ended sooner. In a game earlier in the season I blew for half time after the ball went out of play for a corner and the ball was not easily retrievable. Some gripes yet none like disallowing a goal.
Here is a video of a famous incident involving former referee Clive Thomas in the 1978 WC. The goal was not allowed.
In a recent Champions League game I noticed that following instructions from UEFA to end games at the exact end of added time that in a Manchester United game the referee did not allow a corner to be taken as he had signalled 3 minutes and the 3 minutes had fully expired at that time. United was none too happy yet that was the referees decision which was final.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


I agree with you that it is not right to allow a corner kick and blow the whistle for end of game as the ball is in the air. On June 3, 1978, in a World Cup game, Welshman Clive Thomas did exactly that and disallowed Zico's goal.
While Thomas was theoretically correct in blowing the whistle when his watch told him that it is the end of the game, he clearly forgot Law 19: Common Sense. FIFA referee Mr. Thomas was correct according to the Laws but he never got another international game after that decision. And today his decision is in the top ten of the worst referee decisions by soccer referees...
A method that I used for accurately timing the game is the 'timer' function, which counts down time left in the game. At the start of the game I blow the whistle and press the timer button when the ball is in play. If there are stoppages, I pause the timer. This gives me a running total of time to be played at any moment.
This watch tells me when time has expired by vibrating, an unmistakable signal. Audio alarms could be missed but the vibrate alarm could not. So you see, I can tell exactly when it is the end of the game, without glancing at my watch.
I do have another watch on my right hand, which starts at zero and keeps going.
So let's say I call for a corner kick, the ball is kicked and my timer goes off. Normally I would raise my whistle and blow at that moment but I would wait for the ball to land. That's common sense.

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