Soccer by the Rules – Suspended Games
By: Joe Manjone, Ed. D.
A Suspended Game as indicated in the Definition’s Rule 18-1-1ll is a game that has been interrupted by the referee because of conditions which make it impossible to continue play but are not the fault of the participants or spectators. Examples of such conditions include inclement weather, power failure, or other emergencies affecting playing conditions.
An example of another emergency resulting in a suspension that I recently encountered was mosquito attack. The game was being played near a swamp, and when the lights were turned on, the mosquitos came in hoards to attack players and spectators who including me quickly ran to their cars.
There are two types of suspensions that can occur:
- Temporary suspension where the game is restarted after the adverse conditions have been alleviated, as was the case with the mosquito attack where the game was able to continue after the city bug truck sprayed the area and cleared the mosquitos. Usually, the game is able to start within 30 – 60 minutes after being suspended.
- Suspended game where the conditions are such that play is not able to continue that day or at least in the next several hours.
Rule 7-1-3 explains the procedures when this type of suspended game occurs: In the event a game must be suspended because of conditions which make it impossible to continue play, the head referee shall declare it an official game if one complete half or more of the game has been played. If less than one-half of the game has been played, the game may be rescheduled from the start of restarted from the suspension of play according to state association adoption.
Temporary suspension was covered in a previous article that centered on a Drop Ball. This article is concerned about the Suspended game where conditions make it impossible to continue play.
Rule 7-1-3 is very clear on what happens if the game is suspended during the first half. Your state association is to determine if the game is restarted from the beginning of the game with the score 0-0 or from the point where it was suspended with the score being the same as when the game was suspended. Your state association most likely has established a rule on games suspended in the first half. Check with your state or chapter rules interpreter to learn what is done in your state if you do not already know.
If at least one half of the game has been played when the suspension occurs, the game is official and the team that is leading is the winner or if the score is tied, a tied game is to be declared.
But what happens if the game ends in a tie and a winner must be determined as in a tournament or league play that requires a winner. Once again, your state association is permitted to determine what is to be done if a tie game occurs and a winner needs to be determined. The state association could mandate that in the event of a tie game, the overtime rules of the state are to be used to determine a winner, that the game is to be played from the point of suspension or that the game be replayed from the start.
However, please note that the state association can only mandate one of the above procedures if the game is tied and a winner has to be determined. If at least one half of the game has been completed and no tie exists, or if a tie exists and it is not necessary to get a winner, the game is over and state associations are not permitted to rule otherwise.
Because weather is often a factor at soccer games, it is very important that you know all of the rules and procedures governing suspended games in your state.
Follow the above procedures in every high school game you work and make certain your partners do the same. Help teams know and get used to the high school suspended game rules.
If you would like to suggest a high school soccer rules change or if you have any questions about this rule or any high school rule, please e-mail me at [email protected]