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Question Number: 31088

League Specific 12/6/2016

RE: competitive Adult

Jacob of Malindi, Kenya asks...

A match kicked off at 5.40pm. Our country, and specifically this area, is one where it gets dark between 6. 20 and 6.30pm. The halves hardly lasted 20min each with a very short break (around 5min). Competition rules insist that teams turn up early to allow kick off on time, kick off is 4. 30pm for that league level and by the end of the first half (45min) the match will be abandoned if one team has not turned up yet. Referees are paid their dues at the fields of play by teams, usually at halftime break. There has been a notable series of matches beginning as late as past the first 45 min simple because these teams arrive late and the referee has been directed by the office to await the teams and officiate them! This game being a semi final of a mini league, generated a hot debate over a whatsapp forum but still when the office was asked to explain, they said they instructed the ref to go on officiating and they were in line with law 7 because they involved the teams and the referees to decide on that decision. When we highlighted that there was no competition rule which allowed such a game to commence, the office insisted that since they are the ones who make the competition rules and they are the ones who instructed the ref to officiate it was correct. Is what they did in order? And what if they agreed on 5min each half? Is that the rule?
Merry x-mass!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jacob
If the two teams are there and available to play then the referee should officiate the game. A judgement call needs to be on two equal halves so if a game kicked off at 5.40pm with darkness estimated at 6.30 then two halves of 20/25 minutes would be allowed for with a short half time break. The facts are then reported to the League.
Now if the competition rule states that a team has not turned up by the allotted time that is 5.15 then the referee goes home and reports the matter. I also suspect that if there is very limited time available the teams may not see the point in playing for 10 minutes. Common sense has to prevail although I suspect that some referees will want to officiate a game if they have turned up ready to do so. I personally would be gone home at 5.15 sharp

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jacob,
The Laws of the Game do not address the specific question of what happens if the local rules of competition are at odds with what actually happened.

This makes it difficult to answer your question without having a copy of the actual competition rules. Some that I have seen allow for the competition organisers to make 'ad hoc' changes to the rules if they find it necessary.

There is also usually some kind of appeal or protest procedure - you could always try that avenue of approach if you feel the matter has not been correctly handled.

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