Abandoning a game due to injury

Abandoning a game due to injury

In this article you will...

  • Understand what to do in the event of a serious injury.
  • Considerations you should make when deciding if a game should be abandoned.

Despite protecting player safety being our number 1 priority as a Referee there are a small number of occasions where games need to be abandoned due to injury. It's really important that match officials listen to those medical experts before making any decision.

When deciding if a game should be abandoned due to serious injury the Referee should consider...

  • The age group of the players - if this is a youth team game seeing one of their teammates injured will be upsetting for those players in the game. The players may not wish to continue with this match.
  • The time it takes for a player to be removed - What is the wait time of an ambulance? Is this an excessive delay, do you have floodlights or will the light deteriorate before the player can be removed.
  • Is this an evening game - Seek clarity with the home team if there is a cut off time for finishing the game or do they have a curfew on their floodlights. 
  • Consult the technical staff and captains of both teams - are they giving you a flavour of what they want to do. Is there a mutual consensus between the two teams that can aid your decision making?

Top Tips

  • Take your time to check in on your own well-being and the well-being of your team. If any member of your team need further support following an abandonment due to serious injury click here for some guidance and signposting.
  • Set timescales - whilst it can be difficult to work out how long to wait for medical assistance to arrive, set rough timescales and communicate these to both teams.
  • What are the weather conditions? Do you need to take the players off the pitch whilst medical assistance and assessment is made, whilst you may need to remain on the pitch go and grab a jacket to stay warm during the stoppage.
  • Warm up - If the game does restart following a serious injury, don't forget to allow time for both teams and your team to warm up again.
  • You do not make a decision on the outcome of the game, this will be decided by the league / competition. 
  • Once a game has been abandoned for a serious injury always contact your appointments officer.