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Question Number: 24853

Law 7 - Match Duration 4/26/2011

RE: Competitive Under 15

Brian of Carlisle, PA USA asks...

I just took my referee (Grade 8) test and I am bothered by a question. The question was something like 'You have given a corner kick, but before the kick can be taken, time runs out for the first half. What action should you take?' Even though the LOTG state that extended time should only be given for a penalty kick, I would extend the time for the corner kick to be taken as well because I am the official time keeper. So, I guess my question is, 'officially', should time be given for the corner kick or is the half over and no corner kick given?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

When answering test questions, always give the 'book' answer - in this case, time is up.

As to whether or not to extend time, you have to look at what was happening around the play. Was the team who would take the corner hustling, or were they taking their merry ol' time getting the ball into play? Was your timekeeping so precise that you know there are zero seconds left, or could it be that there should be a few more seconds? You're not really 'extending time' in the same sense that it happens at a penalty kick. Instead, you are ensuring that the teams have all the time allotted to the game, including lost time.

Whatever decision you make, the time to blow the whistle is either before the kick is taken, or after the results of the kick are seen. Don't determine that time is up while the ball is in the air on the way toward the goal. While that is a correct 'book' decision, that is not the right decision to make in the interests of the game. Timekeeping is imprecise in this game, so use that imprecision correctly.

If you allow the kick to be taken, you can't extend time indefinitely until a goal is scored. If you allow a last-second kick, then stop the game as soon as it is clear that the ball will not be immediately scored. They don't get bunches of second chances - that's not fair to the defending team.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
Test questions require test answers. If time has run out then no further play is allowed. As you correctly point out the only exception is a penalty kick.
During a game the decision the referee has to make is whether time has run out or not. That is not what is being asked and the mistake made by some referees in tests is that they do not answer the question posed.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

As the referee is the official keeper of time, those responsibilities and duties include adding time for any lost due to overly long substitution situations, time wasting by either team, injury and assessment of injury and whatever else occurs that makes the referee decide the players deserve their full measure of playing time. This does not mean the referee can choose to keep playing forever, nor does it mean the referee should necessarily stop the game at the second the 45th minute is reached in each half (although it is tough to believe that there has been nothing for which to add a few seconds or minutes to the half).

Adding time is not exact.

But to answer your question, if the referee has decided that regulation time has expired, plus whatever time the referee decided was necessary to add back to keep the game whole, then time is finished and the final whistle should sound. If your question said time was up, that means the referee had decided time was up.

If a corner kick is about to be taken at that moment in time, tough. The only exception which allows the referee to extend (not add) time is the taking of the PK. Remember on an extended PK, there is only the kick and either a goal or no goal - there is no playing a rebound or anything else. That is not, cannot be true of corner kicks.

So, don't trick yourself into thinking you're doing the players a favor by letting the corner kick take place. The team against which it is being taken won't think so. Use the discretion given to the referee regarding the management of playing time in a game very carefully.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Brian; you're not really answering the question. You say you would allow the corner kick to take place because you are the official timekeeper. It's true you are the official timekeeper but if you allow the corner kick then you are saying time has NOT run out. Time runs out when you say it does so the ONLY thing you allow after that point is a penalty kick.

Now, if you are saying that in your mind all time HAS ended and you still are going to allow the corner kick to be taken, I would ask: why? I am willing to bet your answer would be: because a corner kick is a scoring opportunity. This is the attitude of many if not most referees and to be honest I have never understood this. Any discussion of the LOTG eventually ends up as a discussion of fair play or what is fair to both teams. Soccer is all about fairness. The LOTG were written to ensure fair play. How on earth is it fair to the defending team to extend time just so the attacking team has a chance to score? I understand that if the attacking team has the ball and is about to get a shot off as you decide time is up you allow the shot. Here you are extending just a few seconds and it's fair in that you would do this for both teams but I can't see doing this when more than just a few seconds are involved. I also would have no problem with a referee ending play AFTER a final shot on goal has been taken except that the referee might not get to his/her car afterwards alive.

The most truly fair thing to do is to end the game when in your mind you have added all time regardless of where the ball is or what's occurring. I would go further and say if ALL referees did this, there would be no problem. However, since almost no referee will end play when there is a clear scoring opportunity imminent in just a few seconds, any of us that do end play here are going to catch unmitigated hell from coaches/parents/players and some of our fellow referees.

If you are going to end play when time is up regardless of circumstances (and for the record this is my standard) and you are working youth games, you should tell both coaches and teams while checking players before the game that this is what you are going to do. You don't have to and at higher levels of play no referee would, but you are going to head off possible bad feelings and even potential harm to yourself by doing so.

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