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Question Number: 29013

Law 7 - Match Duration 11/27/2014

RE: Competitive Adult

George Wedge of Ormideia, Larnaca Cyprus asks...

A match is played and a team is leading 3-0 and just as the third goal goes in a defender falls awkwardly and badly injures their ankle (just before half time). The injured player cannot be moved from the field of play so the game is stopped while he receives treatment and an ambulance is called.

During this stoppage the team with the injured player say to the referee and the other team that they want to forfeit the game as they are already 3-0 down and do not want to continue the game with 10 men (they have no substitues). The team leading 3-0 want to play on. The team with the injured player insist and the referee abandons the game, noting that the team called a forfeit and did not want to play on.

The league subseqeuntly say that the rules state an abandonded game must be replayed as all games have to be 90 minutes in length.

Where does the team leading 3-0 stand? The losing team insisted on forfeiting the game when they could have continued with ten men, the referee chose to abandon the game because of this (which I believe he is allowed to do at his discretion).

I don't believe there are any allowances in the rules for a 'forfeit'. Surely this is a loop hole open to exploitation?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The laws of the game do not specify the result and leave to the league/competition authorities what happens when a match is abandoned. Few leagues publish local rules detailing what will happen and most leave the decision to a committee/commissioner to decide based on the facts.

The tradition in soccer has been to fully replay a match that has been abandoned for any reason. But, my experience is that most amateur leagues choose to have a match replayed in its entirety only if the match is abandoned before the completion of the first half. (Many leagues will consider the match 'completed' for purpose of standings if at least one half has been played.)

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
An unsatisfactory situation. In my opinion if one team did not want to continue and as a result caused the game to be abandoned then that team should not benefit from such a decision with a replay. Generally when that happens the referee conveys the facts of what happened in his match report and the competitions disciplinary committee decides on the outcome. Most Leagues have a competition rule that deals with these situations. One could not have a situation where a team for whatever reasons declines to continue and expects to get a replay. However in the absence of such a competition rule on forfeits and caused abandonments the Laws of the Game apply which states that an abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.
I suspect that if the forfeiting team wants to show fair play it can sort out the situation through conceding the replay either by a walkover or by not contesting the game fully on the day.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George,
Law 7 allows for those associations who are not SMART enough to provide contingencies when matches are abandoned for various reasons, then yes a replay is correct under the LOTG!
It is unfortunate that situations arise where match results are somewhat compromised be it a protestable situation for a miss application of the LOTG or a series of dubious injuries until less than 7 players remain or darkness or weather or time/field use constraints or some sort of, I do not want to continue because, the field is too unsafe, we are too tired, referee is not protecting our players etc... creating an abandoned match. A referee can not force a team to play! He can include the information and circumstances but ultimately the league or competition authorities make a decision.
I suspect that if a team was a no show without good reason, the team waiting there, ready to go, would get the win. So not sure why the ROC or authorities can not conclude 'reasonable accountability' and their disciplinary committee arrive at a just decision? If the team forfeiting team has any integrity they would not file a protest! If the league demanded they replay, they could choose to not show or allow a walk over Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

You note that the referee acquiesced to the team's request to abandon the match. While that's the way it played out, he really would have no choice. If he said they had to play, then 4 more of their players could suddenly find a reason they had to leave, and they wouldn't be left with enough players to continue.

It is unfortunate that the league would not allow a forfeit. But evidently those are the league rules. Law 7 notes, 'An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.' So if the league doesn't have rules to cover this situation, they must fall back on a replay.

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