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Question Number: 30450

Law 7 - Match Duration 5/24/2016

RE: Competitive Under 13

Matt Noah of Fargo, ND USA asks...

A referee awarded our team a corner kick. While setting up for the corner kick, the referee blew his whistle for halftime and were not allowed to take our corner kick? Is this the correct call and can you point to a section of the rules which covers this topic. I could ask the same question of free kicks, penalty kicks, offsides kicks or goal kicks. I could even ask the question of a game ending while a player is essentially on a 'break away' run with the ball, about to shoot and possibly score.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
The game is over when the referee decides that time has fully expired. It is covered under Law 7 and it states that *the allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee*. The only time that time MUST be extended is for a penalty kick to be taken.
At all other times the referee can end the game when he decides that according to his reckoning time has expired. In your scenario perhaps the referee was playing added time and say it was 2 minutes. If the two minutes had fully expired and perhaps more than that to allow the attack to finish then the referee decided that play should not continue any longer. It makes no difference other than the penalty kick condition that play must continue at any other restart .
Should it happen. IMHO while it is technically correct it can cause issues which need to be managed. 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 is happening. Some using this method may 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 of added time so a few seconds can be found / lost either way to end neutrally.
Here is a video of a famous incident involving former referee Clive Thomas in the 1978 WC. The goal was not allowed.
It would have been best had the referee ended the game before the corner.
In a recent Champions League game I noticed, following instructions from UEFA to end games at the exact end of shown 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 players were none too happy yet that was the referees decision which was final. Player have become accustomed to flexible timing of games so the corner kick, free kick is usually seen out with an immediate end if it comes to nothing such as when the ball is cleared away or goes wide. I have said many times that the game needs to tidy up it timing mechanisms and it could borrow timing methods from other sports. In rugby the timing click is stopped at the referees instruction and when it reaches zero play continues until the ball goes our of play. A foul allows play to restart with a kick at goal or play can continue with a free kick.
I also make the point that there are 90 minutes in a game. Relying on added tine at the referees discretion is not in a teams control so the team should focus on what it can control.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


The only time the referee is required to extend the game is for the taking of a penalty kick. Other than that, it is up to the referee to determine how much time should be added at the end of each half. So, to answer your question, it is technically correct for the referee to end the game prior to the taking of the corner kick assuming that time has expired.

That said, in the spirit of the game, typically the referee will allow the taking of the corner or the free kick or the breakaway, etc.. Referee McHugh has an excellent example for you when Clive Thomas had more or less the exact scenario you are asking about. Unfortunately, he waited until the kick was taken.

Finally, similar to Referee McHugh, I can not understand why we tend to fixate on a few seconds at the end of a half or end of the game when we had ample time prior to this to score.

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