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Question Number: 28915

Law 7 - Match Duration 10/27/2014

RE: rec

Ramon Janeiro of wilmington, delaware usa asks...

Does a referee have to allow a free kick to be tacking on the last play of the game? (The ball hits a defenders hand, and a referee calls a handball, the attacking teams quickly puts the ball down to take the free kick, and a defender stands in front of the ball and does not allow the kick to be tacking, the referee near the play runs to card the player for delaying the game, and the second referee comes in and ends the half.) Should the team have been allowed to take the free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Ramon,

Frustrating when these situations arise. Where I referee most games are scheduled so close together that we operate under strict instructions not to apply any stoppage time.

The laws state that the only restart that the match is extended for is a penalty kick. So, we always allow a penalty kick, but the match isn't extended for a free kick.

But the referee also has the discretion to make allowances for time lost for any cause. So if you're playing with stoppage time, then you could justify finding an extra few seconds here due to the fact that you're holding up play to issue a card.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ramon
I assume the dual referee system was used here which is not approved for FIFA / USSF games. When that system is used there can be a number of unique factors which can include timing and who is responsible for this. If one of the referees who was in charge of timing (head referee) decided that the game clock had gone to zero in which case no further play is allowed.
Now the important part here is whether time fully expired before the ball was placed for the free kick. If so no further play is allowed. If play had not expired and the opponent prevented the restart then the clock is stopped for the caution and only restarts on the whistle. That would allow the kick to be taken.
In a LotG game the referee would normally find a few seconds to see the play out with the free kick taken and in fairness the offending team should not be rewarded for the handling and then preventing the restart.
The only situation in play where play must be extended is the case of a penalty kick. That one kick must be allowed and no further play will be allowed after the outcome of the kick is determined.
Another point is the inordinate focus that is placed on the last few seconds on a game. As I say to teams regularly what about the previous 90 minutes of play and that the game ends when the final whistle sounds. Teams should focus on what they have control over rather than something that they have none.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


The answer is, it depends.

In high school or college, when the clock expires, the period is over and nothing else can happen. I am assuming, since this was a dual, that this falls under this category. It is unfortunate but technically correct. If the card was displayed prior to the end of the half, time should have been stopped and the free kick allowed to proceed.

In USSF, the referee should use the power to add lost time and allow the kick to proceed. We can always find a few seconds here and there!

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