In my last game we were awarded a free kick; I shot the ball directly at the goal. The referee blew their final whistle while the ball was in the air; the ball then entered the goal.

Can the referee do this? What are the rules regarding this kind of situation?

  • 2
    Asking whether it's fair to end the game in that moment is off-topic, due to relying in opinion. The remainder has been edited to make your question clear.
    – Nij
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Law 7.1 - Periods of play:

A match lasts for two equal halves of 45 minutes which may only be reduced if agreed between the referee and the two teams before the start of the match and is in accordance with competition rules.

The referee should only extend the half for time lost during that half due to actions listed under Law 7.3 - Allowance for time lost:

Allowance is made by the referee in each half for all time lost in that half through:

  • substitutions
  • assessment and/or removal of injured players
  • wasting time
  • disciplinary sanctions
  • stoppages for drinks or other medical reasons permitted by competition rules
  • any other cause, including any significant delay to a restart (e.g. goal celebrations)

However, it also states:

The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each half. The additional time may be increased by the referee but not reduced.

To answer your question:
As far as the Laws of the Game are concerned, the referee may only extend the duration of the match for time lost. Further extensions may only be made if the referee decides that further time has been lost during additional time.

  • Reason for downvote?
    – unbindall
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 0:55
  • 1
    I didn't downvote but I would assume that this might be because your answer explicitely lacks the concluding word: "Yes, the referee can". As for an example, Karim Benzema scored a goal against Switzerland in the World Cup 2014 making it 6-2 for France, but the goal did not count because the referee called the end of the game seconds before Benzema scored.
    – Fatalize
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 15:48
  • I think this is a pretty good answer, but I'd like to clarify the last sentence - "Any further extensions are up to the discretion of the referee." I think i know what you mean, but it implies that the referee has the power to decide to continue a period of play indefinitely - which they certainly do not. They only have the power to extend additional time further if more time is lost. I'll make an edit to clarify this - feel free to roll it back if you disagree. Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 3:49

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