South Jersey Thunder/Lightning Policy

This applies to SJSL and SJGSL games. Other competitions may have different rules, but must be consistent with the USSF/NJYS policy.

Revision (2/27/13)

SJSL/SJGSL
Lightning/Thunder Policy
For Referees

In accordance with USSF and NJYS guidelines, in the event that lightning/thunder is observed in the area:
1) All league sanctioned games in the area are to be stopped by the officially assigned game referee;
2) The game clock is stopped;
3) Players, coaches and spectators are to be directed to leave the field;
4) The game may not be permitted to resume for thirty (30) minutes after the last observed event.

If an additional lightning/thunder event is observed during the stoppage period, the thirty (30) minute clock is to be restarted.  In no case should a game be restarted less than 30 minutes after the last observed lightning/thunder event.

The maximum stoppage period per game cannot exceed forty-five (45) minutes.  In the event that the required stoppage period has reached or will reach forty-five (45) minutes, the game is to be terminated.

In SJGSL matches only:  If the affected match is a “single game” at that site or the final game of the day, the referee may at his/her discretion extend the game beyond the 45 minute maximum cumulative delay if it appears that the weather will be passing and the game may be completed.  If the referee and/or members of the referee crew are assigned to other matches that day (for either league), they are to adhere to the 45 minute maximum cumulative delay guidance so as to not jeopardize the timely start of the next match.

The final determination of whether or not the game qualifies as a complete game for league purposes will be decided by the league Executive Board.

If a game is terminated, the referee shall:
1) Direct all players, coaches and spectators to leave the field;
2) Note in the Comments section of the game card that the match was terminated for a “Lightning/Thunder” event.

If a game is terminated, the referee may NOT:

1) Collect a single game fee (unless that game is already eligible for a single game fee);
2) Determine or announce that a terminated game is a “complete” game for league purposes;
3) Start the next regularly scheduled game until the thirty (30) minute stoppage period has expired since the last observed lightning/thunder event.

Examples: 

Single Event Observed:
If at any time during the first half (or the second half) of a game, lightning/ thunder is observed in the area, the game is to be stopped by the referee.  The game clock is to be stopped.  Players, coaches and spectators are to be directed to leave the field.  If no other event is observed, the game can resume after 30 minutes.  The game clock is restarted and that half of the game resumes play to complete the remaining time period left in the half for that age group (ie. U8-12 – 30 minutes; U13-14 – 35 minutes; U15-16 – 40 minutes; U17-19 – 45 minutes ).  If the stoppage occurred in the first half, the second half is played as originally scheduled and the time period is not reduced.  The start of any additional games scheduled on that field will be delayed by the stoppage period.

Multiple Events Observed:

1. If at any time during the first half (or second half) of a game, lightning/ thunder is observed in the area, the game is to be stopped by the referee for the required 30 minute period and other required actions (see above) should be taken.

a. If 5 minutes into the stoppage period a second event is observed, the 30 minute stoppage period is restarted.  The game will now be stopped for a total of 35 minutes.  Play will resume after that second 30 minute period expires with no recurrence of a lightning/thunder event.

b. If multiple lightning/thunder events are observed during the stoppage period, after each event, the 30 minute stoppage period is restarted.  If the cumulative stoppage time reaches 45 minutes, the game is to be terminated.

2. If at any time a game is stopped for a lightning/thunder event and the entire 30 minute period passes and the game restarts before a second event is observed (thus triggering another 30 minute stoppage period), the game must be terminated as the total stoppage time would exceed 45 minutes.  For example,

a. if a game is stopped for 30 minutes for an event that occurred during the first half, and a second event occurs, either in the first or second half, the game will be immediately terminated (as the total stoppage time would exceed 45 minutes).

b. if the game is stopped for the first time during the second half and the entire 30 minute stoppage period runs before a second event is observed, the game is to be immediately terminated (as the total stoppage time would exceed 45 minutes).

c. if it is a SJGSL game, and it is the last game of the day or a single game at that site and the referee crew does not have a follow up commitment, the referee may at his/her discretion extend the game beyond the 45 minute maximum cumulative delay if it appears that the weather will be passing and the game may be completed.  If the referee and/or members of the referee crew are assigned to other matches that day (for either league), they must adhere to the 45 minute maximum cumulative delay guidance so as to not jeopardize the timely start of the next match.

Additional Notes from the SJSL for SJSL Referees:

  • Please make a copy of this and carry it with you to any game where there might be bad weather.
  • Please make sure you keep an accurate record of the total stoppages. Report any lightning or thunder stoppages or terminations on the SJSL game cards.
  • Please note the reference above to SJGSL (Girls) games.  No SJSL boys games, whether they are regularly schedule games or makeup games (Sat, Sun or weeknights), should ever exceed the 45 minute total.  If there are stoppages of any length, each succeeding game game will be delayed by the stoppage.  If there are 30-44 minute stoppages in the first 2 games it could be a very long day for everyone at 3:30 or 4:00 games.
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About Dan Paolini

Soccer & Futsal Referee Assignor

Posted on March 3, 2013, in Advice Posts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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