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Question Number: 7046

Law 7 - Match Duration 12/27/2003

RE: Youth Competiton Level Under 10

Steve Cusmano of Lutz, FL USA asks...

I am keeping time on my watch the game is 20 seconds past the 25 min mark (They Play 25 min), when the GK takes control of the ball. I waiting for him to punt it to end the game, but he starts to run around with the ball in the box. I had decided earlier in the game to allow about 30 extra seconds due to the team winning taking extra time during throw in's...Now the keeper has passed the 6 second mark so I blow my whistle due to this infraction I set the ball down with the idea to allow the team to take a indirect free kick..Then the coach starts yelling for the players to ask for 10 yds they do. I step off the 10 yds and now it s 55 seconds past the game end. As the players stare around looking at the ball I blow the whistle to end the game...I know the rule states when time is up the game is over...Was this the correct call or should I have allowed the free kick?..My reason to not allow the kick was time was up, and I did not see it as being fair to the defensive team to allow the kick, but at the sametime was it fair to the offensive team?..Bad postiion to be in and I took heat from the parents and coachs.

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer 12/27/2003

Steve, brought this one on yourself didn't you? What could have been done to prevent this happening? ..First, when the team leading began to waste time you could have done one of two things: advise the captain you would add all the lost time or caution each occurrence and add time (harsh, but within the Law). Second: end the match at the second with no added time. Third: do as you did, but allow the indirect free kick and see what happened. ..Note: the coach screaming for his side to demand the opponents retire ten yards is indicative of one thing or another... First: this had been occurring thought the match and was not dealt with effectively by the referee on its first occurrence or; second: the coach did not properly prepare his side in the taking of a free kick with little time remaining. ..Taking heat from the parents and coaches probably was not something new, but had been going on throughout the match and missed/ignored by the referee. If that was dealt with at its outset it may not have occurred subsequent to the match. Perhaps if the yelling and screaming had been dealt with the coach would not have been yelling for ten yards either and the free kick would have been taken without his interference... Could the yelling have had something to do with the bad ending? ..Sometimes, Steve, no matter what you do things are not going to work out, was this one of those? I hope the few things I have given will help prevent this in future. Thanks. ..Regards,

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino 12/27/2003

Hi Steve. Thanks for the question. You got yourself in a little predicament here didn't you? To be honest, at a U10 match, I think I would have either told the keeper to clear it or just ended the game. But your question is were you correct in what you did? You said you had decided that game was over at 25:30. My question would be, could the kick have been taken by 25:30 even if the attackers had taken a quick kick? I don't see how as you blew the whistle on the keeper AFTER 6 seconds so you were probably already past 25:30 when you signalled for the IFK,and more time expired by the time you put the ball down. The only time you may allow play to continue after you have decided the game is over, is for the taking of a penalty kick, which this wasn't. But you alllowed play to continue and then decided to stop play before the kick could be taken. You ended up with a situation that wasn't fair to anybody as you allowed play to continue past the time the game was over then changed your mind and went back to the original time in your mind before the kick could be completed. Here's what I would suggest you could have done, once you stopped play for the keeper violation. Since you're keeping time closely and you have decided that 25:30 is when the game is over, blow the whistle, go get the ball,by now it's after 25:30 look at your watch, and blow the whistle 3 times and end the game. Where you got yourself in trouble was when you allowed the game to go beyond the time you had already decided that the game was over. Anything that happened after 25:30 shouldn't have as the game was "officially" over as we are told in ADvice to Referees 9.1 that while the whistle signals play has stopped (or ended) "play is considered to have stopped when the decision is made, not when the decision is announced." Once you put the ball down and signalled for the IFK anything you did was going to get you into hot water. If you decided the game was over at 25:30, why did you step off the 10 yards at after 25:50? I can easily see how the attacking coach would assume the game wasn't over and he would get the kick and get upset when you ended the game. If you wanted to avoid that, you could have let the kick proceed and then end the game and no one would have known anything was amiss. But YOU would.It sounds to me as if you really didn't want to end the game at 25:30 because you proceeded to allow play to continue. You also say you put the ball down with the idea to allow the kick even though,by then, you were clearly past the "about 30 extra seconds". If that's the case, then, in my opinion, you should have allowed the kick to be taken..Here's a suggestion. When you're doing youth games, be thinking about the Spirit of the Law and Law 18. Did the keeper going over 6 seconds really warrant a foul? He's 9 or 10 years old. Couldn't this at least have been considered trifling? If not and you feel the need to punish the infraction be sure about when you're going to stop play. Once you've decided that the game has a specified end time, stick to it. If you don't, then your going to get yourself into situations like this one.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Sebalja 12/27/2003

Rarely do you get questioned about how much extra time you have unless there is a big descreptancy that is noticed I would have just finished the game at that point. The only kick that happens after time is up is a Penalty Kick.

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