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Law VII - Helpful Information


The referee may not arbitrarily shorten or lengthen the quarters of a game where the time has been specified by the competition authority (league, tournament, etc.).

The amount of time the referee allows for time lost in any quarter of the game or in any overtime period for any reasons is entirely at his discretion. Referees should remember that there are "other causes" that consume time, such as kick-offs, throw-ins, dropped balls, free kicks, and replacement of lost or defective balls. Many of the reasons for stoppages in play and thus "lost time" are, however, entirely normal elements of the game. This should be taken into account in applying discretion regarding the time to be added. The main objective should be to restore playing time to the match is lost due to excessively prolonged or unusual stoppages.


If the referee ends play early, then the teams must be called back into the field and the remaining time must be played as son as the error is detected. The halftime interval is not considered to have begun until the 2nd quarter of play is properly ended. If the ball was out of play when the period was ended incorrectly, then play should be resumed with the appropriate restart (throw-in, goal kick, etc.). If the ball was in play, then the correct restart is a dropped ball where the ball was when the referee incorrectly ended play (subject to the special circumstances in Law VIII), or an indirect free kick for the team in possession of the ball at the end of play.

Although the play ends at the instant that time runs out, it is important to remember that that instant is in the discretion of the referee (i.e, not when a coach's or fan's watch sounds for the end of the allotted time). The referee must remember to add any additional time lost which may result in a different timing for the end of the play. It is critical that the referees discuss who will blow the whistle for the end of the game prior to the start of the match so that there is no confusion about added time allotment.


Managing the time between periods and at half-time is a critical task for the referee. If the referee allows these times to extend over the appointed amount, the end of this game may push back the start of the next game. If this occurs in the morning of all day play on that field, the team at the end of the day will start significantly late and may not have time to complete the entire game due to available light. make sure to complete all pre-game activities well before the designated start time of the match. Remember that the whistle to start the match should be blown at the designated start time. Do not let the game start late due to your lack of preparation and time management.

It is advisable to "call-out" the teams 30 seconds early between quarters. The one minute time is to allow the players to get some water and rest. Do not allow coaches to extend time for coaching advise. For the younger age groups, it is more important because the coaches may be obligated to position players prior to kick-off due to the players lack of familiarity with the basics of the game. Similarly, "call-out" the players prior to the end of the halftime period to assure that the 3rd quarter is started on time.



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