Play of the Week 27: Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
This week’s Play of the Week with PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer covers Law 7 – The Duration of the Match.
When referees decide on the length of time to add on at the end of each half they have to consider the following criteria that is laid down in the Laws of the Game.
Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through:
– Assessment of injury to players
– Removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment
– Wasting time
– Any other cause
Rejer said: “The allowance of time lost is at the discretion of the referee. The referee is therefore responsible for the amount of time added on.
“This does not mean he can take the Law into his own hands. He does not have total freedom to cut short a period of play because of the temperature of the game or if, towards full time, there was more than one goal difference; or if there had been a lengthy injury, he wanted to catch an earlier flight and so did not make the full allowance in time.
“Also, the referee should not add more time for a corner kick to be taken, or for a free kick to be taken, although the Law does give him discretion to do so for free kicks as the defending team had committed an offence.
“In last Wednesday’s Vancouver Whitecaps versus San Jose Earthquakes game, referee Jose Carlos Rivero added four minutes on but allowed just eight seconds for two substitutions that occurred during that four minutes – adequate? The score at the time was 2-0 to Whitecaps.
“In Friday night’s encounter between Chivas USA and Sporting Kansas City, referee Juan Guzman allowed no additional time despite six substitutions. The score at the time was 4-0 to SKC.
“You may say does it matter, particularly when you take the scores into consideration? But goal difference can play a vital part in league places at the end of the season. One goal difference could mean winning the supporters shield or making the Playoffs.
“Referees have to be calculated in their approach – the referee has no right to consider the score of the game or any other external factor. Yes, time is down to his discretion, however he has a responsibility to the game, the clubs and the fans to ensure that the criteria, clearly laid down in the Laws of the Game, are adhered to. It only takes a second to score a goal, therefore every second counts.”