In a U12 game in which the halves are supposed to be 30 minutes long, what is a referee to do if she discovers that after the first half has ended, the first half was played for 35 minutes instead of 30? Advice to Referees discusses what to do if a half is too short, but I don’t see anything about what to do if it’s too long. (Let’s assume there is no need for added time as allowed for by Law 7.)
Matches are supposed to have two equal halves, but does this apply if the first half was incorrectly too long? Should the second half be 30 minutes or 35 minutes?
Answer (September 10, 2013):
There is little in the Laws covering this unfortunate event. However, these words from the Laws (back in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, under Law 7) may be helpful: “The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.”
The intelligent referee, i.e., one who is smart and quick on his mental feet, will simply describe the extra time as “taking into account time lost” — not true, of course, but an overly long half is easier to “explain” than a half which is short by any amount.