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Question Number: 6501

Law 7 - Match Duration

RE: Varsity High School

Jim Law of West Berlin, NJ USA asks...

When is the "official clock" not the official clock? Case in point: During a recent NJ high school varsity game the on field referee added a minute onto the "official clock" controlled by local high school students from the home team. The student timing of the game was a minute different than the on field official. The second on field official had the time remaining the same as his partner. Was the changing of the clock warranted and legit?

Answer provided by Referee Victor Matheson

The scoreboard is the official time but the referees on the field may change this clock at any time they think it is necessary. There are many reasons the scoreboard may get off from the official time. Sometimes in the excitement the clock is acceidentally not stopped after goals or during penalty kicks. Other times the timekeepers are not familiar with the rules or fail to notice that the referee wanted the clock stopped for issuing a card or another reason. You can't add time once the scoreboard gets to zero, but you can change it any time up until then. Making the changes as soon as the discrepancy is discovered will lead to the fewest problems, however. Finally, the referee may choose to simply ignore the problem if the time difference is not large or the score is lopsided.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Here is the applicable of NFHS Rule 6:..SECTION 2 TIMER..ART. 1 . . . The home school timer shall be the official timer. However, by mutual agreement of opposing coaches or by state high school association adoption, the official time may be kept by the head referee...ART. 2 . . . The official timer shall use a visible timing device. The official time may be kept on a stadium clock...ART. 3 . . . The official timer shall:..a. start the timing device when the ball is put into play and stop the timing device when signaled to do so by an official for an injury, for a penalty kick, for a caution, for a disqualification, following the scoring of a goal and when an official orders time out...b. signal to the official(s) when substitutions are to be made;..c. countdown verbally the last 10 seconds of each period of play to the nearest official;..d. be aware of the position of the ball when it becomes dead;..e. signal when time for a period has expired;..f. signal two minutes after the end of the first and third quarters when applicable;..g. signal two minutes before the end of the interval between the first and second halves...Regards,

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