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Question Number: 22828

Law 7 - Match Duration 2/16/2010

RE: Competitive Adult

Matt of Toronto, Ontario Canada asks...

Hi Mr/Mrs Refs,

My question has to do with Law 7, the Duration of Play.

I was presenting for a group of instructors recently, and someone asked me 'what is the minimum length of a half time interval?'

My response was that there is no minimum posted in the LOTG, and it's generally covered by competition rules, and has to be less than 15 minutes. I also noted that players are entitled to a half time interval, but not any particular length.

I was then told by most of the instructors there, all of them more senior than I, that I was wrong and that 5 minutes is the minimum half time reference.

So, I did what any student of the game would do - I opened the LOTG and searched for any law, ruling, instructions to referees, or decisions that say 5 minutes. I still can't find it.

Was I wrong (likely, given the crowd of people) - and if so, where in the laws does it say that?


Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I can't find a minimum time stipulated in either the Laws of the Game or USSF's Advice to Referees. (The latter would not apply to you in Canada, but would serve to indicate there was such a principle.) Perhaps it is an OSA regulation?

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Matt
You are indeed correct. There is no minimum but there is a maximum of 15 minutes. Players are entitled to a half time break but if both teams agree to change sides and get on with play so be it.
However if one player disagrees then a break has to be taken.
Certainly no mention of 5 minutes in the Laws of the Game.

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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

This may sound REALLY picky, but it's a more proper answer to say, "not MORE than 15 minutes...," rather than to say, "...LESS than 15 minutes...." The 'less than' reference provided in your answer to the instructors implies that there MUST be some time allotted. And as Ref McHugh points out, players are entitled to one, but are not required to take one. Majority does not rule in this instance either. If one player wants it, and no one else does, then they must have a halftime interval.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Perhaps you should ask those who questioned you for their authority source.

The Law is pretty clear:

'Half-time Interval
Players are entitled to an interval at half-time.
The half-time interval must not exceed 15 minutes.
Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval.
The duration of the half-time interval may be altered only with the consent of the referee.'

I suspect they are remembering either a local rule or competition rule that allows for no less than 5 minutes and no more than 15. But that has to be a local modification.

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