On the weekend an altercation between a referee and a play led to their team leaving the pitch. 21 minutes into the game our team was up 1-0 when allegedly the referee said to a player that he was a "shit player." There is no evidence of this. The player was told to calm down, and then he pushed the referee and stood as if he wanted to fight. The referee drew a red card. The player left the pitch and told his coach what the referee said about him being a "shit player."

Their team left and forfeited the match. The referee was keen to move on and referee the rest of the game; therefore, was the game abandoned, or did their team forfeit, as both the referee and our team were keen to persist with the match?

I was just wondering if we get the 3 points and they forfeit, or is the game simply forgotten?

  • 2
    What country did this happen in? At what level do you play? So, please add what context this match was played in Jun 15, 2015 at 7:20

4 Answers 4


In terms of the match, it has been abandoned so there is currently no result.

What happens next is a question for the governing body controlling your games - they will gather evidence from the involved parties and make a decision as to what happens in the longer term - they will almost certainly have the right to do almost anything, up to and including expelling offending clubs from the tournament. For specific details, you'll have to read the exact regulations for the tournament you're playing in.

  • Are you sure there is no result? The way I see it, the team that walked of forfeited the game by walking off. So three points would go to the team still on the pitch. I think the game is a forfeit unless(/untill) decided otherwise.
    – Don_Biglia
    Jun 15, 2015 at 13:59
  • 2
    I can't see anything in the Laws of the Game which mentions forfeits, so unless this is covered by the regulations for the appropriate competition, I don't think it can be a forfeit.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jun 15, 2015 at 14:23
  • A rule with the Belgian FA, says that if a team leaves the pitch without consent of the referee the outcome is a forfeit of their part. But it's possibly/probably different in lots of other countries and exceptions occur of course.
    – Don_Biglia
    Jun 15, 2015 at 14:45

For certain, the governing body will not be happy with the behaviour of the other team and their coach, and it seems inconceivable that they would be rewarded for walking off by granting a rematch.

In the simple case of a team being unable to play the match to the end due to players being injured or having to leave, you would probably be awarded the 3 points via a standard score set out in the rules (e.g. 3-0). If the other team are lucky, and have a good reputation, this is what will happen here too.

But given that they refused to play after a disagreement with the referee, despite having enough players, and that the referee was pushed by a player, there could be more serious consequences for the team. You'll have to wait and see what the governing body decide.


As mentioned by Braamstruik as a comment, this will depend on the football association (FA) you are playing for.

Under the laws of the game[1]

  1. The match has been abandoned as the ball is out of play and the opposition cannot (will not) have the required number of players on the field.

  2. The player who pushed the referee is guilty of violent conduct, and will be sanctioned accordingly:

He is ... guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a ... match official.

(page 127)

The action that takes place as a result of the match being abandoned is completely up to the rules of your FA:

An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.

(page 29)

For instance, Football West, under the National Premier Leagues (NPL) umbrella of the Football Federation of Australia have the following clarification of the match abandonment rule[2]:

If a match is abandoned prior to half time, then the match will be replayed, unless, in the opinion of the referee, one or both of the participating teams caused the abandonment of the match.

(page 5)

Under this ruling, in the NPL the match would be awarded as a 3-0 result to your team.

I would consult the laws of the game for your football association, which will clarify their position on abandoned matches.

[1] FIFA Laws of the Game 2014/15 (http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/refereeing/02/36/01/11/27_06_2014_new--lawsofthegameweben_neutral.pdf)

[2] Competition Rules National Premier Leagues - WA (http://www.footballwest.com.au/fileadmin/user_upload/NPL/NPL_Competition_Rules.pdf)


I live in Thailand. Unfortunately, walk-offs by teams unhappy with something or other seem very common here. It seems that the official rules allow a walk-off to continue for up to 15 minutes when, if the team fails to return, the game is forfeited with a 0-2 victory to the opposition. I find this not only frustrating, but bizarre. The referee is not going to (or shouldn't) change a decision relating to play unless choosing to take the advice of his assistants e.g. over whether a foul challenge was in the box or not. Is the referee in charge or not? The delay just seems an excuse for a team and coach to show its' frustration, rather than the referee just continuing with the game, decision made, rightly or wrongly. It has to be accepted that referees do make mistakes, but also that players have to accept that, harsh or not.

  • Bizarre is right. That is in clear violation of FIFA rules.
    – garth
    Sep 25, 2018 at 1:13

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