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Question Number: 32821

Law 7 - The Duration of the Match 10/21/2018

RE: Under 15

jacob of eugene, or usa asks...

is a referee required to tell players how much time is left in a half? i get so tired of players constantly asking me how much time is left in a half, especially near the end of it when i get asked repeatedly. usually it is distracting me from the game, or i am moving so i say it quickly and they ask 'what did he say' or 'i couldnt understand you'. i always make a loud announcement with 2 minutes left in a half then for stoppage time as well

it's gotten to the point that i am considering adding into my pregame talk to players during check in that i will give a 2 minute warning, but i will not respond to questions about time remaining during the game, and that if they want to know time remaining to ask their coach and tell the coach he will be responsible for keeping time for his players to ask.

would this be okay to do for the youth game, or is this too harsh?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jacob
First point is that the referee is not obliged to inform how long is left other than in the case of where there is a fourth official who gives a general indication of added time.
Key point is not to get distracted. So focus on the game and your decision making not on talking to players about time.
I make a point of being on the move away from players so that my movement takes me away from any further questions. If they do not hear that it is tough luck.
At a stoppage such as an injury, substitution I might inform players / bench how much is gone in the game not how much is left.
On the constant request I just blank / ignore the player/s. Sometimes that may draw a negative response in the *dissent* space so I may speak to the player telling him that I have told you previously there are x minutes gone. I am not going to tell you again so please keep playing to the final whistle. A number of times that has developed in a small spat and so be it. Generally it is only one or two who are concerned about time.
Sometimes I give the answer of *Not long left now* or *We are in added time*. It gives an answer yet not specific enough and the answer gets repeated. Players figure out that they are not going to get a specific
As to the pregame I would not bother about that. It is not something that will happen just might. I would keep it simple to the key points.
It is about managing it on a game by game basis.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jacob,
time is relative & rarely to the exact micro second so an occasional query is expected but I suggest no exact times only speculative, Time is winding down Not a lot. About halfway etc,.. Just keep going until you hear that whistle! I am only specific at stating with 5 to 3 minutes of normal time left the MINIMUM amount of time I could be adding, this helps coaches with substitutions and if they are smart how much time is approx. left in the match. You need to be a bit flexible if other things start to occur to slow a match you just point to your watch,\
I just add it, guys get to it!
I also find it distracting so as long as the request is not a bother a long ball into touch a worried player might ask how much longer wondering if the delay is using up time if say they were behind or ahead as the result is important. There is no need to blow them off just make them aware in generalities rather than specifics if you say an exact amount you can hear the stop watches clicking lol

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jacob,
There is indeed no requirement for a referee to tell players how long is left, and I have to say that my initial inclination in most cases would probably be to ignore or 'brush off' such requests.

I suppose one could argue that there is not too much harm in answering the occasional query but it can be a slippery slope. I agree that it can become annoying if repeated too often and that the referee should not be going out of their way to give constant updates, especially as this will tend to take your focus away from more important things.

So I wouldn't say that you should necessarily and automatically always ignore such requests but you certainly shouldn't feel under any pressure to answer them either and even if you do respond, there is again, no requirement to be specific. As suggested by my colleagues, it is fine (and possibly preferable) to be a little vague. If you are too precise you could even end up painting yourself into a corner - for instance when something happens and you have to make a further adjustment.

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