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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33271

Law 5 - The Referee 4/25/2019

RE: Pro Professional

Fidel Jaary of Auckland, New Zealand asks...


When starting a game a whistle is blown by the referee only once. At the end of the 1st half the referee blows the whistle 2 times. At the end of the game the referee blows the whistle 3 times.

In case of an Extra time, does the referee need to blow his whistle twice as some claim, or three times to indicate a new two periods of Extra time. My friend argues that i should had blown my whistle twice at the end of full time, i disagree.

Is this in 'The Laws of the Game' or is it just a guideline?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fidel
What you describe is just an arrangement and it is not part of the Laws of the Game. It probably has it origins in the idea of one whistle to start, two for half time and three to end the game. Someone thought that was a good idea probably at higher levels and it got passed on there is no right or wrong answer here just that a whistle has to be used to end a half. How you do that is up to yourself.
The important part is that players know what the whistle signal is for and rarely should there any confusion no matter how many blasts of the whistle are made.
I would say the vast majority of referees do not even know that there is the *convention* here. I hear everything from one long whistle to two / three whistles.
Personally I would recommend that referees look for clear situations to end the half / game which can be when the ball is in the air hopefully in a neutral position say from a goal kick, ball kicked forward in the air etc.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fidel,
I'm not sure I would even go so far as to call this a guideline as I personally have not seen it recommended in any official document, to me it is simply a convention. Accordingly, using a different number or length of whistle blasts to indicate the end of different periods of play is something that a referee can choose to do - or not, purely based on personal preference. Having said that, it is a fairly widespread convention and one that I would normally use. When it comes to periods of extra time, I would use the same whistle style for those two periods, as for the corresponding periods of normal time - but that's just me.

In law though, there is no requirement for a referee to use any particular way of whistling to indicate the end of periods of extra time (or, as mentioned, the end of any other periods of time).

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