Here’s the situation. The referee blows the final whistle after time has fully expired with no question to whether 90 minutes has gone by. After blowing the whistle, the referee sees the trailing AR waving his flag and a fight happening between two opposing players in the penalty area. After the fight is settled, the AR tells the referee that the defender struck the attacker inside of the defender’s penalty area first before the final whistle. Now, of course all misconduct would be dealt with as necessary. That is not what I’m interested in. What I am interested in is the restart (if there is one). Assuming the referee accepts the AR’s version of events, I want to know if a penalty kick for the attacking team would be appropriate. I know that the Law says a referee can change a decision provided the game has not been restarted, but it also says when the referee has terminated the match. Moreover, I thought that the Law was changed in direct response to a similar incident where a FIFA referee blew the final whistle but then accepted the missed AR’s signal. I don’t think that the penalty kick should be given, but could you clarify?

Answer (July 10, 2007):
The misconduct issue is clear. The referee must give whatever cards are appropriate prior to any restart. In this case, a send-off/red card for violent conduct.

As to the correct restart, suppose the exact same sequence of events had occurred but, instead of the referee blowing the whistle for full time, the ball had left the field for a throw-in or goal kick. Wouldn’t it be pretty clear that we would negate the normal restart and give the PK because, once we accept the AR’s information, we would count play as having stopped at that time? This matter is actually covered in the IFAB/FIFA Q&A 2006. The same argument applies here as well. If the assistant referee says the offense occurred before time ran out (based on the referee’s signal) and the referee decides to accept the AR’s information, then time has NOT run out–at least not yet. Given the short period of time involved, the correct restart is a penalty kick taken in extended time. And the referee had better take steps to protect the AR.

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