Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 35336

Law 7 - The Duration of the Match 1/21/2024

RE: Rec Under 15

Paul Paul of Norfolk , Norfolk Uk asks...

2 mins into added time the ball is played behind defenders and striker running 1 on 1 with keeper, maybe 8 yards out, shoots and ref blows for full time ( which it was ) thoughts ?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Paul,
So what was the stated added time?

I do know we have this myth that if an attack is in progress it is unfair to end a match, yet a team that has defended the allotted time successfully, is not such a goal potentially unfair? If the ball remains glued to the attacking teams feet, do we wait until a defender clears it or a keeper saves it? If a goal occurs I often restart with kick off and then end the match. I will be startled one day when the kick off from center will catch out a celebrating keeper right off the get go with a direct shot! lol Added time has some wiggle for a few extra seconds! EXTENDED time has NONE!

Too much attention to the watch or focusing on the play and forgetting, either can create an issue for at least one team versus the other. You might note that added time for time lost is stated as a MINIMUM of whole numbers where even more added time can occur. It is also possible the decision to end a match occurs and the referee fumbles the whistle or has a slight delay in blowing. It is also why I do not like setting that beep on timers as it gives less wiggle room.

Unlike basketball where a shot taken on its way to the hoop as the buzzer ending the match or half still counts if it goes in Soccer does not allow it once the match end signal has been given. While time is rarely to the micro second, when time is up, the match is over and as such if signaled with a whistle by the referee, play is dead, no goal is permitted if it enters the goal AFTER the whistle sounds. It is true we generally look for less irritable ways to end a match. I recall as a coach my team had what I felt was a decent goal taken away by the whistle blowing for halftime as the shot, already taken, was on its way into the goal. I find such a decision to not be in keeping with circumstances, whereas a whistle, BEFORE a shot is on its way less upsetting.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
It all depends on the timing method used by the referee.

Some referees use a modern referee countdown timer with the timer being stopped for every single added time incident ie substitutions, injures, other delays.
When it gets to zero it buzzes and the referee ends plays no matter what is happening. I do not like that approach as it is an outlier with the approach taken by most referees in games.

For many other referees a guesstimate is used with time being calculated for say substituons and maybe the watch stopped only for injuries. That method has much more flexibility in that a few seconds can easily be found to see a play out such as described. So if the referee decides that added time is two minutes based on a guesstimate a few seconds can be found. That is the regular approach on that method. It is not necessarily *correct* though yet it happens which no doubt is the reason you ask the question.

I saw an EFL game during the week and the referee blew it up after the ball went out for a corner. The attacking team was upset that they did not get a chance at the corner! Their is no provision in law to allow the corner kick.
I once saw a referee allow 4 corner kicks in a row after playing the allotted added time. Thankfully it eventually ended with a goal kick. It was patently unfair yet he had this notion of not ending the game on a corner kick!

Anyway our thoughts count for nothing as timing is entirely a matter for the referee on the day. If the referee decides that the required added time has been played then that is all that matters. If the referee goes either way the referee will aggrieve one of the sides either for going over the time or the other for stopping play.

The smart referee will look to blow it up in a neutral situation quickly so that the question does not arise. Interestingly the question is most asked from the US where timing from other codes find its way into soccer such as from basketball, American Football or School soccer where hooters sounds to end the games at the exact moment the match click reaches zero. No play is allowed after that no matter what including a shot destined for goal.

I might add that timing as it stands is fraught with all sorts of problem with an unhealthy focus on added time. The game has a set time and added time is at the discretion of the based to take account of time lost. I see it all the time where a referee allows play to continue to a conclusion before blowing it up. That is incorrect timing yet somewhat custom and practice that has come to be accepted. In the Sheffield Utd v West Ham game there was I believe over 14 minutes played. There was a stoppage for a penalty of some 5 minutes due to an injury. The referee played on and allowed a Sheffield Utd free kick right at the end before blowing it up when it was headed away!

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 35336
Read other Q & A regarding Law 7 - The Duration of the Match

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>