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Question Number: 31459

Law 7 - The Duration of the Match 4/16/2017

RE: Adult

Trevor Danby of Trimdon Station, County Durham United Kingdom asks...

Do refs still allocate 30 seconds for a substitution.
I have just watched WBA v Liverpool.
The 4th official indicated a minimum of 4 minutes additional time.
Liverpool made a substitution during taht period but the game was stopped seconds after the 4 minutes

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Trevor,
There has never been anything in the Laws of the Game mandating that referees should add 30 seconds for substitutions. The relevant provisions, ever since they were first introduced in 1987, simply advised that referees should make allowance for time lost for such things as substitutions, injuries and time-wasting. The exact time allowed for a substitution is entirely up to the referee but it seems logical (to me at least) that it should be equivalent to whatever time was lost in the first place.

For example, if a player had gone off injured some time previously and then, at a stoppage, the substitute came on promptly while the ball was still in the process of being retrieved, it could be that no time was lost and so there would be no allowance necessary.

I have heard it said that some referees use a rough rule of thumb that the average stoppage time to be allowed for the average substitution is around 30 seconds but that is not stated in the Laws and is not always the case. It could, as mentioned, be as little as 0 seconds (rare, admittedly but possible) it could be 10, 20, 30 seconds or more. There is no set amount and the referee is the sole judge of how much stoppage time to allow.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi a Trevor
There is nothing in the laws about notional time to be added on for each substitution. At the highest level there is as Referee Grove states a rough rule of thumb although that can be used or indeed some rely on actual timing or the 4th official to keep track of time actually lost. If a team wants to get on quickly with the game then little time can be taken whereas a team that wants to be tardy can take longer.
I watched a recent championship game when a sub was made in added time and the referee added on 20 seconds. In the Man Utd v Chelsea game a substitution was made in the 4minutes of added time. Again the referee blew it up on the expiry of 4 minutes.
This is what UEFA advises its referees. ** The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee. Referees are reminded that they must allow at least the full additional time indicated and not stop play before this time expires. If substitution(s), assessment of injury to players, removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment, time wasting or any other delay occurs during the additional time, the referee must make allowance for this time lost but it will not be indicated by the fourth official.**
In summary the referee could have added on time but chose not to. As I say to teams why focus on the last few seconds of time that is at the discretion of the referee when there is 90 minutes of time to do what is needed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Trevor,
the discretionary aspect of adding time is at times seemingly unfair or inconsistent given some referees will be very mind full others less so.

When a time card is held aloft or the referee signals that say 4 minutes is to be added by the LOTG play must continue for a minimum of 4 minutes it CAN continue longer to take in a delay during those 4 minutes which could include substitution or an injury or some timewasting antics .

In theory the only free kick that is permitted to be extended past the allotted time is a penalty kick. Yet I have seen referees permit a free kick into the area get pushed out for a corner when time was shown to be in excess of was shown on the time card. Then the corner is taken and there is a mad scramble if the defence clear whistles sounds to END game if a goal is s scored whistle does not sound until kick off occurs then END game. It is because no referee likes to end a match by preventing an opportunity despite the time is up when it is up. I remind all it is as unfair to be forced to defend longer as it is to be shorted an opportunity if time is not fully expired! Given time has some discretionary aspects and not all substitutions are completed in under or over 30 seconds it is a general observation rather than a definitive rule!
I can tell you this if the team is hustling to get the kick off rather than dawdling it could make difference. If the score is far out of reach or the weather so foul it might make difference.. If it was clear no one on the field cared it might make difference whether the whistles goes exactly on the clock or trickles on for a little bit more.

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