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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30434

Law 7 - Match Duration 5/20/2016

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30429

I know the referee can't change the amount of time for the 2nd half, but I thought the question involved finishing the first half.

Suppose the ball goes over the touch line & referee blows the whistle to end the first half & immediately realizes there's an additional 5 minutes of play left. Can't he correct his mistake immediately?

If so, what about 20 seconds later...2 minutes, etc. as long as the 2nd half hasn't started?

Isn't this a mistake that can be corrected as long as there hasn't been a restart?

As usual, thanks for all the advice!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Yes the referee could and should correct the error immediately by sorting it out at that time by playing the last few minutes with a restart. The difficulty would be in the instance where both teams have left the field of play and perhaps already in the changing rooms. Trying to resolve it then by bringing both teams out to play the 5 minutes and then stopping again for a half time break would be very messy. It may undermine the referees credibility as he will have to shown a serious error, move the teams from changing rooms interrupt coaching, refreshments, toilet breaks etc and then also to change sides to restart the 2nd half again.
The law is somewhat mute on that point other than stating that the referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half. That would suggest circumstances where the timing error cannot be sorted by playing out the timekeeping error.
Best solution is to not let it happen in the first place. Prevention is better than cure.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Phil,
I would argue that it would be permissible to have the players return (say, at the end of the typical break time), resume (from the original restart, meaning a drop ball if the ball was in play) the final 5 minutes, take a brief break as the half time break (a brief break is required - it could just be a minute though), then start the 2nd half. Strictly speaking that's not compensating for a timekeeping error - it just means there was a random 15 minute stoppage, 5 minute of play, a very brief half time break, then the second half.

Not only would this be messy but it is then effectively asking the players to play a longer 2nd half. The referee will need to decide on the lesser of 2 evils.

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