I recall in one of your past posts your comments on the “golden goal.” How do clubs get away with this at USSF Sanctioned Tournaments? Not only that, but in the Competition Rules it reads “OVERTIME: There is no overtime in preliminary round games. There is no overtime in consolation games. In playoff games, overtime shall be two 10-minute periods for U11-18 and two 5-minute periods for U10. The FIFA Golden Goal Rule shall apply.” Just like you said, there is no such rule.

Many tournaments I’ve worked this summer have used this method. Is this something that can be amended by each state’s youth rules (such as the unlimited substitution rule?) and still be sanctioned by USSF?

USSF answer (August 11, 2009):
You raise a complicated question. Under the Laws of the Game, the only allowable method of determining a winner of a game or a home-and-away series is through kicks from the penalty mark. In some competitions, the kicks from the penalty mark may be preceded by two equal periods of extra time. The IFAB, the people who write the Laws of the Game, removed the “Golden Goal,” also known as “sudden death” or “sudden victory,” from the methods for determining the winner of a game in the Laws of the Game 2004/2005. We suspect that the cited rule is a hold-over from the days when this WAS permissible and the competitions have neither the interest nor the inclination to bring their rules up to date (inertia is so much easier than work). Competitions in the United States and affiliated with the U. S. Soccer Federation — including all state associations and youth soccer — are NOT PERMITTED to use this method of determining the winner of a game.

The club or tournament is affiliated with the state association and the state association is affiliated with USSF and USSF is affiliated with FIFA. If the match “counts” for the referee, then it should also follow the Laws of the Game, with the only exceptions being those permitted by the IFAB itself (as described in the Lawbook). Referees should always review the rules of the competition before accepting an assignment and remember that they could jeopardize their standing by working games that are not run in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

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