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Question Number: 34334

Law 7 - The Duration of the Match 9/11/2021

RE: Travel Under 17

Lawrence (Laurie) Judd of LOVETTSVILLE, VA United States asks...

End of the first half, into time added on and Team A is on the attack. Now game time is over but Team A is still attacking. Not wanting to blow for the end of the half as Team A is at the edge of Team B penalty area, play goes on and there is a definite foul - but was it in the area or just outside? Blow for the foul, consult with AR, we both agree that it was outside. If it was a penalty, we would add time and take the PK. But this is now a DFK outside the area and time is already up (actually over the stoppage time). What to do? Add time for the DFK or just blow for half time? I did the latter (coach not happy) but I have no ability to add time for a DFK within the rules. Thoughts?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Lawrence,
time is relative and rarely to the Microsecond but it is as unfair to defend longer than the required time as it is to halt an attack too soon. No one wants to be that referee while looking at his watch as he was blowing the whistle to end the half or match as the ball was sitting in the back of the goal roughly at the same time. NO goal? Good goal? SOMEBODY is not going to like that verdict! We do have that iffy few seconds of let's see this play out as time is about over or let's end this as time is over? When added time appears it is a rough estimate, not a millisecond count down. If we post 3 minutes it will NOT be less than that but it could be more. It could be 3 minutes 3 seconds or 3 minutes 54 seconds & if there is reason to add time in added time for wasted time or an injury it could stretch to 4 minutes 35 seconds. Generally, the longer your match runs past the shown or stated time the greater the degree of skepticism you are neutral.

If I examine your statement you seem pretty clear that TIME WAS OVER so why are you allowing it to continue? You go on to say they were still attacking? If time is up they have no right to do so! I will assume the attackers had CLEAR ball possession & they were in the middle of shooting that ball at the goal when this foul occurs otherwise the whistle should be ending this!

If indeed you are considering the LOTG it does state that only on a PK can you and in fact you must extend time past the allotted time with only the pk kicker & the defending keeper playing the ball. No one else can be involved, whereas a free-kick anyone can get involved in the sense, if you THINK there was sufficient TIME, for that attempt on goal to occur, but it was thwarted by a foul, you can stop time and add those few seconds you were already allowing for that action sequence to play out. Often even on PKs or free kicks that result in a last-second goal in mid or end game I often restart with kick-off and then whistle play dead. Gives me the ball back at midfield. If the attempt misses then whistle it dead there. It seems to soothe the temperament and eases the pain if only slightly.

Think about the attitude and actions of the two teams. Who really deserves that iffy time? One team might well be hustling like hell, trying hard to get back in it or get a much-needed result. One team or both could be equally guilty of dragging their feet when dealing with restarts for various reasons some use up time if say they were ahead in score or it's a sunny blazing scorcher & they are simply tired or just not that ambitious.

The fact is as a referee it's YOUR match, it's YOUR decision!, it's YOUR reputation! You are the FINAL arbiter of time unless this is high school with a clock & a horn sound ending the match, or a special time-sensitive tournament with no added time permitted not the referee discretionary iffy whistle. You are 100% correct to end the match although you COULD still show a card IF the misconduct within the foul warranted it as such. But let take this deep and darker. Imagine that foul albeit outside the PA was a deliberate handing where that ball MIGHT have scored if not for that intervention? Feeling a bit queasy? lol Send off the player, reduce them a man but restart with a kick-off at the start of the 2nd half for which team was due, or do we find some iffy time to have a last-second shot that goes in or wide before we end officially end the half?

I can tell you this from a coaching standpoint who educates his players that it's game on ALL the time. IF our team was attacking and we were WELL into stoppage and we had a free-kick awarded just outside the PA we take that kick ASAP because the LOTG state a match CAN NOT Be extended UNLESS it WAS A PK! Knowing and understanding the LOTG the always ready & prepared team can make use of the iffy times far better than one depending on a referee to not apply the LOTG. The fact you likely indicated time had expired by posture or if something was said not going ahead with the free-kick was probably the best decision and it is one easily defended in law! I have stated VERY clearly as a referee to the players when we are clearly well into the end times. Let's go guys we are into the dying seconds here, use it or lose it! Be surprised at just how quick they move to restart play!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Laurie
Thanks for the question.
The technical answer is that play cannot be extended for anything other than a penalty kick so the *correct* answer is that the half was ended once time expired.
Now there are two issues at play here which is timing and extending play after time has expired. While connected they are two separate matters entirely. You rightly state that play can only be extended for a penalty kick while the timing of the game is a matter entirely for the referee to manage. A referee could not end the game if a penalty kick is awarded. The kick MUST be allowed to be taken in all circumstances. A referee can end the game at any other time.

The telling part in your statement is that you state and I quote *Not wanting to blow for the end of the half as Team A is at the edge of Team B penalty area*. If time was in fact expired play should have been stopped. Period.
Now we know that many referees do not time the game say like say football or basketball or NFHS in that when the watch reaches zero the game ends no matter what. Some referees use that method and we have had questions on that timing which are always answered that the referee is the sole timekeeper and if time has expired in the referees opinion so be it. I suspect that you use the more general method of estimating added time which means that a few seconds can be found to see a play out which in fact is what happened.

Now in your example a few seconds were found to allow play to continue to see out an attack. That happens regularly at all levels so there was nothing unusual or untoward in that as we know that timing is not managed to the second using the guesstimate method of adding on time for substitutes, injuries and other stoppages. As you decided that time had not fully expired to allow the attack then a further second or so could have been found to see the restart free kick out.

I might pose this old question *How long is a piece of string* . That question is posed when one cannot answer a question about the length, size, amount, etc. of something because it could be any length, size, etc. So when you found X seconds to see the attack out which was stopped with a foul the added time could have been extended by a further 2/3 seconds to allow the kick the same amount of time that may have been taken for the original attack to end without the foul . The time used in the consultation part with the AR can be factored out as play had stopped. However your decision to end it at the free kick was yours to make and supported fully in Law.

Have a look at this video which has to do with an infamous timing issue in a World Cup game. The referee Clive Thomas disallowed a winning goal as he said that time had expired as the ball was in the air from the corner kick. Six seconds were calculated to have been added on after the 90 minutes had elapsed. In the first half the commentator states that the referee looked at his watch and then allowed the pass plus cross to happen with some 40 plus seconds added.
Many high level game referees will say allow a corner kick to happen and then blow up after the outcome. I have seen an odd one where referees have blown up before the kick is taken much to the chagrin of the attacking team who know timing is not an exact science. In the Brazil game the *best* decision would have been to blow up before the kick.

Ultimately this is a principle issue for the referee to deal with. If a referee has found a few seconds to allow play to proceed then a further few seconds might also be found. He can also opine that he has allowed play to continue to that point and that no further time is going to be allowed.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision. I always tried to blow it up before any crucial game situation or if I could not do that then see it out. Sometimes that might have been a few seconds sooner than I had planned so if I was adding on 3 minutes and there was a punt at 2.45 I might stop it then with the ball in the air. If there was an attack and I was adding on say 4 with a foul just at 4 I would see the free kick out and then end it. I was always happy with that approach as I knew my calculation was a guesstimate rather than an exact calculation that I chose to discard or ignore unfairly.
These should not happen in my opinion with better mechanics

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Laurie,
Alllowing an ongoing attacking move to play out is one thing, allowing a free kick to be taken for an offence that occurred after time (as judged by you) had already expired is a completely different matter.

So for me, you have made the right decision.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Lawrence,

My viewpoint is that this shouldn't need discussion - I always cover what an AR does in this situation in my prematch.

The AR is going to have the best chance of telling if it's inside or outside the PA - so their signal if it's inside is to run to PK position as soon as the whistle is blown. If outside, then move back up to the edge of the PA. If they're already there, maybe even a sidestep or two back upfield, to show they're clearly giving a signal. I tend to think that conversing with the AR in this situation is undermining the AR - instead, trust that they'll give the appropriate signal.

What I've found with good ARs - especially when we've officiated together a few times - is that I will look at them before blowing the whistle and they'll just know what I'm looking for and start this move immediately - that's also their signal confirming their opinion that a PK should be awarded.

Of course, if you have an inexperienced AR (or one that hasn't been performing strongly during the game), then that might give you some reason to go and ask just to be sure - but generally speaking, I'm not a fan of running over to ask the AR if they did their job.
Of course, if you have an inexperienced AR (or one that hasn't been performing strongly during the game - or if they've just even appeared uncertain at that decision), then that might give you some reason to go and ask just to be sure - but generally speaking, I'm not a fan of running over to ask the AR if they did their job. Although on the odd occasion if there's a lot of protest, perhaps it's worth making a show of checking just to shut people up. Outside of those cases, I actually get offended if a ref runs over to talk to me about these things, or something else where the question implies they think I may not be doing my job.

Anyway, back to the point of your question - I think this is something not handled well by the laws. I don't think anything about the end of the half is covered well - especially as the laws do not reflect convention or 'expected' behaviour - this notion of 'the last attack', for instance.

Unfortunately, no matter what you do here, one team is likely to feel aggrieved. I'm in favour of ending the half myself.

If you do end the half - don't do what I once did I had this situation, and I was playing out 'the last attack'. There was a foul by defence, and I knew I wasn't going to permit the kick. So, instead of blowing for the foul, I just blew for the end of the half. That didn't go down well - I would have been better off blowing for the foul first to make it clear I was stopping play for something that happened, rather than for my watch. I'd blow the kick, then time - then if any protests, just point out that time was already well over and it was already the last attack.

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