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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30558

Law 7 - Match Duration 7/1/2016

RE: Under 18

Frank of WASHINGTON, New Jersey Warren asks...

what is the rule in soccer for a ball in flight and the time expire

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Frank
The game ends when the referee sounds his whistle. So if a ball is in flight the ball is dead at the location when the whistle sounds. So if the ball had not crossed the goal line at the moment of the whistle no goal can be awarded.
Now it is frowned on as poor refereeing to signal for the end of play while the ball is in flight towards a goal. The referee should IMO wait for the outcome of the shot before ending. However we know that many referees do not take into account context when timing the end of a game. Some when their watch reaches zero simply end the game at that exact moment no matter where the ball is. That approach always end in acrimony which can be avoided by finding a second or two which is very easy to do.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Frank,
Time ends when it ends. In Futsal there is a law that if a shot is taken and the siren goes, we can still see what the outcome of the shot is. In soccer, no such law.
While Ref McHugh is correct in stating that there seems to be a convention which suggests that referees will typically not blow the whistle at this point, it's important to point out that this is not part of the laws.

It's also worth considering that in some tournaments there is no stoppage time played. Where I spent most of my years refereeing, scheduling was so tight that there were strict instructions not to apply stoppage time. Therefore, I would argue that ending the half with ball in flight towards an empty goal is the correct decision, because to extend the half by even a couple of seconds under strict instructions not to do so is simply unfair to the defending team. And it's not unfair to the attacking team - they had 45min to score and they didn't.

When stoppage time is applied there is a little more room for leeway as stoppage time tends to be an approximation anyway.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Just a short note to let you know that in high school, the ball becomes dead when the period ends (clock has zero time remaining). Thus, a ball in flight is dead as soon as the clock reaches zero which would be signified by the horn blowing or the referee blowing the whistle. Time can only be extended in high school for a penalty kick to be taken. The finality of the period is much more apparent in high school play then in FIFA games.

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