Referee Guidelines

See Lightning or Hear Thunder

At the first sound of thunder or the first sighting of a lightning flash, all coaches, players, referees and spectators are to withdraw from the field and seek proper shelter.

In the case of SFL or Travel matches, home team members should make our visitors aware of our policy and instruct them to seek proper shelter. No place outside is safe near thunderstorms. The best shelter is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. A vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice.

Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or the last lightning flash before giving the “all clear” signal and resuming normal activity.  If additional lightning flashes are seen or thunder is heard, the 30 minutes waiting period restarts. 

For house and SFL matches, if while waiting there is not sufficient time to restart the match (ex: after waiting the mandatory period there is less than 10 minutes remaining in the scheduled time) the match should not be restarted.  In the event that play is suspended and conditions will not allow for the game to resume, the game will be considered an official match if one half of the scheduled length of the game has been completed. Games abandoned before one half of the scheduled length of the game has been completed shall be rescheduled and re-played as if the abandoned game had never been played. Each travel league has established their respective policy for rescheduling matches abandoned due to weather.

Any additional matches that follow shall have to repeat this same policy before starting.

Lightning research has confirmed that consecutive lightning strikes can occur as much as six miles apart. People often do not perceive lightning to be close if it is two miles or more away, but the risk of the next strike being at your location may actually be very high.

Many lightning casualties occur in the beginning as a thunderstorm approaches because people ignore these precursors. When thunderstorms are in the area but not overhead, the lightning threat can exist even if it is sunny at your location.

No Lightning/Thunder Safety Policy can give 100% Guaranteed Total Safety but these steps will help try to avoid casualties by taking evasive action.


Points to Remember:

  • Seek shelter immediately – Leave the fields
  • Game suspended 30 minutes following last thunder clap or lighting flash 
  • Communicate to coaches
  • Clock resets at each reoccurrence
  • Do not restart the game if there is not sufficient time remaining
  • Must have time to complete at least one half of play
  • There may be additional requirements for youth competitive leagues (travel)
  • Includes Lightning, Thunder, Strong Winds, other Severe Weather, etc...
  • Referees judgment –Safety is the primary consideration

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Serving the soccer needs of the Prince william county area since 1973