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Question Number: 31866

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 10/5/2017

RE: Other

Steven of Portland, OR usa asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31861

I saw this and won't pile onto the referee who made this dumb decision, but I do have a question as to what is 'fair' when it comes to restarting a game when one team is taking much longer than another.

My usual go-to is to blow the whistle, wait, and then announce that I will be starting the clock in one minute when teams are still sitting around in the bench area, and do in fact start my clock early.

but what should you do when one team is back and the other isn't? What about if the team that is winning is the one taking forever to get back onto the field, where starting the clock early would be a theoretical advantage to them? Should you 'caution' the coach for delaying the restart? Caution the team captain(s) for delaying the restart of play, or at least warning the coach you will do that?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Steven,
For me, the only thing that is fair when restarting a game after a goal is scored or when starting a half or quarter, is to ensure both teams are ready for the restart.

As ref McHugh said in his earlier reply, the referee has various tools at his disposal such as cautions for delaying the restart and making allowance for all time lost. Under the IFAB's Laws of the Game you cannot caution coaches, though you can give them verbal warnings.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Steven,
Most importantly, let's remember that you need players to be in their own half of the field. So if one team is still off the field, it's black and white - you cannot restart.

I have on occasion, started the half as soon as the other team had all players on the field (7 is enough, but start it at 7 then you have the other 4 players running on after the whistle - you're just creating more problems). I've done that when I've made repeated attempts to get a team back on the field after halftime.

I'm not going to get into whether it's fair to start it when players are on the field but out of position - but be aware that you may well be inviting dissent from the team who is suddenly facing an attack when out of position. (I'm assuming the team on the field already is the one kicking off).

So if you're going to do that you may want to look at some middle ground. Ie when they're mostly in position.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steven
In the past I have been an assistant to drill sergeant type referees who left the teams in no doubt that he would not tolerate a late start or a tardy restart. I can assure you he got action. Even I was afraid. LOL.
Now I think referees can impose themselves in a strong manner that is forceful yet not overly aggressive. The team has to be left in no doubt that the referee expects action on getting ready to play. I believe that referees have sufficient powers to get action. In our Leagues there is a decent fine for a late start plus they can be reported for anything untoward such as this behaviour.
I have many times expressed displeasure at the poor attitude of coaches towards starts / restarts and left them in no doubt that their actions were being disrespectful to the other participants in the game including the referee. At tines I might have to work at it but I do get the required action. Simply going off and restarting is not a credible option whatever about the harsh lesson the referee may believe it delivers.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steven,
no nonsense tone
early warning
lets go fellows we have not got all day here!
hard whistle
follow through if they decided to test you!
warning to coach, warning to captain
2nd warning to coach then expel
possible caution to captain or any tardy player being obtuse!

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