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Question Number: 22946

Law 7 - Match Duration 3/15/2010

RE: Amateur Adult

ALAN MCCONNACH of Edinburgh, Lothians Scotland asks...

Can you tell me if there are rules governing when the referee can blow the final whistle.
We won a throw in by the opposing team's penalty box in injury time but the referee blew the final whistle before we had a chance to take the throw with one last chance to score. Does the ball not have to be in play before a ref can call the final whistle or should he allow the attack to end naturally and then blow the whistle.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alan.
The referee is the sole timekeeper and he can add on for time lost through injuries, substitution etc. The referee then blows the whistle when time is up and the ball most definitely does not have to be in play. Also there is nothing in the Laws about allowing an attack to end naturally or when the whistle should be blown just that it is blown when the time is up.
What I say to teams is that a half is 45 minutes long. Why focus in on the last few seconds or depend on additional time. If the TI was cleared for a corner the team would want to take that corner and if it was cleared for another TI they would want to take that and so on.
The referee was correct in what he did and players have to accept that.
I had an incident a few seasons ago in a game where a player was injured and it took approximately 8 minutes for him to be removed from the FOP. I simply stopped my watch and I restarted it when the free kick was taken. It was 0-0 and with approximately 6 minutes into added on time the home team scored. I played a further 4 minutes which allowed 2 minutes for substitutions, minor stoppages etc making 10 minutes in total and I was berated by the away side for playing that amount of additional time!!. It was my fault that they conceded the goal 6 minutes into additional time. The winning team wanted me to blow up after they had scored. I blew for full time when the 10 minutes had fully elapsed. If the losing team was getting beat at 90 minutes would they have wanted me to play all the time lost for the injury, substitutions etc?

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Law 7 gives us the duration of the game. That is two equal halves of 45 minutes each, plus whatever additional time the referee must add to compensate for lost time through substitution, injury, removal of injured players, wasted time and any other reasons the referee feels require time to be restored.

The referee is the sole judge of how much additional time will be added. When the referee decides that all allowable time has elapsed, the game is over (with one exception). If the ball is in the air, out of play for a corner, throw-in, goal kick - whatever, or even headed into the goal (heaven help the referee who isn't paying attention here!) - it doesn't matter. When time is up it is up and play is stopped; the game is over.

The only exception is when the referee awards a penalty kick in the closing seconds of the game. Time will be extended for the taking of the penalty kick - but only for the kick - there is no follow-up play allowed.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The match is over when the referee says so is the correct and simple answer. However, there seems to be a general belief among players, coaches and referees that if there is an attack mounting, the referee should wait until the attack is over. I've never understood this. How is that even remotely fair to the defending team? The LOTG are all about fairness and the only fair thing is to end the game when all time is up. Period.

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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 22946
Read other Q & A regarding Law 7 - Match Duration

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 32740

See Question: 33355

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