I was the official of a game that started 10 minutes behind schedule.
Before the game, I advised the teams that the 1st half was going to be reduced 10 minutes but, the 2nd half was going to be the 45-minute half.
I was a little skeptical in my decision because I have seen other referees adjusting each half equally for the time that was behind schedule (ie, if 10 minutes behind, then 40 minutes halves). None of the teams made any comments nor did my assistant referees.
What is the procedure to do this?
Did I make the correct decision?
USSF answer (July 21, 2009):
Unless there is something in the rules of the competition in which you were refereeing that permits the referee to arbitrarily shorten periods of play, then you have to follow the Laws of the Game.
LAW 7 – THE DURATION OF THE MATCH
Periods of Play
The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the referee and the two teams. Any agreement to alter the duration of the periods of play (for example, to reduce each half to 40 minutes because of insufficient light) must be made before the start of play and must comply with competition rules.
As you can see, the Law calls for “two equal periods,” not one of 35 and one of 45. If you are going to shorten the periods, you must get the agreement of BOTH teams and make the decision that is fairest to all concerned. This must be done before the game begins. (And, if you were being assessed, the game would not count because the full amount of time was not played.)