A referee brandishes a red card. Photo: Neil Graham.
A referee brandishes a red card. Photo: Neil Graham.

What happens if a referee abandons a match?

The possible outcomes if a match is abandoned
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A referee brandishes a red card. Photo: Neil Graham.
A referee brandishes a red card. Photo: Neil Graham.

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It’s a question that has unfortunately cropped up a couple of times in the last few months and certainly will come in to focus further as the weather starts to turn, ‘what happens if a referee abandons a game that’s already kicked off’.

There are a few reasons why a match might be abandoned by a match official but the most common two are weather and poor discipline.

This pitch is unplayable. Source: Unknown.
This pitch is unplayable. Source: Unknown.

The easiest to answer is around the weather:

If the match is abandoned by the referee due to a significant change in the weather or the pitch becomes unplayable the match will be replayed from scratch regardless of score or how many minutes have elapsed.

Related: This video shows what it’s like to be a referee

So what about a match abandoned for disciplinary reasons:

This can vary from competition to competition and will depend on the nature of the abandonment and any precedents set.

For example – last seasons Reading Senior Cup semi final between Binfield and Woodcote Stoke Row was eventually replayed after the original tie was called off following six red cards – two for the Moles and four for Stoke Row. This decision was made but the competitions committee – but the resulting player suspensions were dealt by the County FA.

On Tuesday night Bracknell Town’s Floodlit Cup tie at Highmoor Ibis was abandoned with around 10 minutes remaining following an incident that occurred after a home player was dismissed. The incident is being investigated by the Hellenic League and will be looked at by the County FA.

The three possible outcomes are that the tie will be replayed, one side given a bye or both sides removed from the competition.

The process for making a decision will come down to reports submitted by the match referee as well as from both clubs, we aren’t aware of any precedents but the Hellenic League will ultimately make the decision.

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