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Question Number: 23289

Law 7 - Match Duration 5/10/2010

RE: Competitive Under 12

Randy Sheaffer of Lititz, PA USA asks...

Tied at 2 our U11 girls seemingly scored a gamewinning goal late in the game. No whistle was blown, but as they were celebrating, the ref waved the goal off saying that 'time had expired less than half a second before the goal.' We handled it OK, but we weren't very happy. We simply asked the field marshall for a clarification as to whether the whistle signifies the end of the game. Incidentally, the ref had added time for injury. I know you're going to say that the game ends when the ref says it ends, but how should this have been handled in your opinion?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Coach Sheaffer
Very unsatisfactory finish IMO and this unfortunately was poorly handled. If time had indeed expired the referee should have blown the whistle to signal that. While it is acceptable in Law why any referee would allow the game to end this way is really beyond me.
From my perspective I would consider two options
1. I would blow for end of time before it gets to a goal scoring opportunity
2. Allow the play to finish out and then blow for full time.
I'm glad to hear that your team handled it okay and well done on that.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

A half second before the goal was scored? Very poor mechanics on the part of the referee. How did he manage to measure wasted time to within 1/2 of a second?

Time is up when time is up, but time in a soccer game is more subjective than objective. The referee decides how much time is to be added to compensate for wasted time. The ref should either have blown the whistle for the end of the game before this very exciting moment, or have decided that he indeed did miss 3 seconds somewhere else in his accounting for time and allowed the goal to stand. That doesn't mean the ref should extend time indefinitely to let an attack finish, but he should be aware of immediate scoring opportunities.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The technical answer is that the referee decides when time expires and it is the decision that counts (the referee's whistle simply announces the decision).

What the referee did was lawful, but unwise. It usually happens when the referee is looking at the watch rather than the players. I'm sorry it happened, and applaud you and your team for handling it professionally.

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Answer provided by Referee Nathan Lacy

I echo the kudos to you and your team for handling it well. I also echo the comments that this was not the best manner in which a referee could choose to complete a match. My opinion on how to officiate this siutation? Measure the strength of the attack. Decide if you're going to allow play to continue or not (stopping a strong attack is frustrating to everyone so either stop it before it starts or allow it to continue). If you allow play to continue, allow the attack to resolve to a reasonable conclusion (i.e. ball NOT headed into the goal....LOL). Once the play dynamic has resolved conclude the match. My thoughts. All the best,

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