According to the Laws of the Game it is for the referee to decide whether or not a match can take place when the weather is too severe. But what defines the term "too severe"? Are there any guidelines about wind speed, snow, rain fall, etc. the referees have to follow?

Right now we have wind speeds of >120 km/h, which would in my opinion way over the limit, but what actually defines that limit? In our referee group we had a test for that, but that was just a small guidance for our local league (like can you see both goals from the middle line or can you run on the pitch or is it too deep, etc).

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    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned lightning. No, it's not in the Laws but the Dutch Guidelines state that you have to suspend play when lightning is near (10 sec between flash and thunder). And of course abandon when you have to suspend for more than 30 minutes. Hm, 2 weeks ago no sign of lightning at all. Match has ended and I'm walking to the club building. FLASH ... 0.1 second (estimate)... BOOM ... OK, we escaped that one. In general the referee has to suspend / abandon the match if conditions are dangerous to the players. It must be somewhere in the rules but common sense counts also. Feb 13, 2018 at 19:12

2 Answers 2


In the FA Laws of the Game, there are no official guidelines regarding what you've asked regarding wind speed, visibility. I too have received local league guidance on what they believe are grounds of abandonment, but nothing official in the laws of the game.

LotG only states that the referee is not liable for any loss suffered by players, club, ground etc. - this is including making decisions:

"that the condition of the field of play or its surrounds or that the weather conditions are such as to allow or not to allow a match to take place."


Edit: another link may be useful to you - this also provides the same level of vagueness as for the LotG: https://www.westmorlandfa.com/~/media/CountySites/wmlfa/documents/refereeing/advice-on-the-application-of-the-laws-of-the-game.ashx

  • When referring to the Laws of the Game, please use the IFAB source. Feb 2, 2018 at 3:12
  • @studro The first link is directly from the FA and is a digitized version of the Laws of the Game. The second is simply an appendix that offers application advice. Feb 3, 2018 at 16:45
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    The appendix is fine and I'm glad you included it - it gives an example of advice provided to referees in a specific geographic area (i.e. England), which may help referees in other locations develop their own standard for managing weather in the absence of their own local competition rules. However, the FA is not the authoritative source on the Laws of the Game - IFAB is. National FAs may not update their copy of the Laws in a timely manner, so it's better to link to the IFAB resource, which is updated as soon as changes are made. Feb 4, 2018 at 23:34

I found the guidelines from Dutch FA (dated december 2014)

It says (among a lot of other rules) that a referee has to postpone play whenever the fog is so heavy that the referee is unable to see the goals from the centre spot.

  • You should have checked the laws.
    – Nij
    Feb 9, 2018 at 19:39
  • Well, I've added my source. It's not the official laws, but at least locally this is what's being used. Feb 13, 2018 at 14:56

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