AFL Rules: Timekeepers, Duration of Matches, Quarters & Intervals

10. TIMEKEEPERS, DURATION OF MATCHES, QUARTERS AND INTERVALS

10.1 DURATION OF MATCH AND INTERVALS

10.1.1 Duration
Subject to Law 10.1.3, a Match shall be played for a period of 80 minutes, divided into 4 quarters, each of 20 minutes duration. The 20-minute duration for each quarter shall be actual playing time and shall not include stoppages in play.

10.1.2 Intervals Between Quarters
Subject to Law 10.1.3, an interval shall be taken between each quarter as follows:
(a) a maximum period of 6 minutes between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter;
(b) a maximum period of 20 minutes between the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter; and
(c) a maximum period of 6 minutes between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter.

10.1.3 Variation
A Controlling Body may vary the duration of a Match and the duration of the interval between quarters.

10.2 TIMEKEEPERS

10.2.1 Appointment
(a) A Controlling Body shall appoint two (2) or more persons to act as the Timekeepers for a Match.
(b) Where the Controlling Body does not appoint a Timekeeper, each Team shall appoint a person to act as a Timekeeper for the Match in which the Teams participate.

10.2.2 Duties
Each Timekeeper appointed for a Match shall:
(a) keep time for each quarter of a Match;
(b) record on time cards the time taken to play each quarter and lodge the completed cards with the relevant Controlling Body;
(c) sound the siren in accordance with the procedures contained in these Laws;
(d) stop the clock which is used for the timing of each quarter as required under Rule 10.5 for a stoppage in play; and
(e) perform any other function as may be directed by the relevant Controlling Body.

10.3 PROCEDURE FOR SOUNDING SIREN — START OF MATCH AND QUARTERS

The Timekeepers shall sound the siren at the times and on the number of occasions as set out in the following table:

Start of Match Number of Occasions
Five minutes prior to scheduled starting time of the Match and as Umpires enter the Arena once
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time once
Scheduled starting time (Start of Match) once
First Quarter Time Interval
Start of Second Quarter Number of Occasions
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time once
Scheduled starting time (Start of Quarter) once
Half Time Interval
Start of Third Quarter Number of Occasions
Five minutes prior to scheduled starting time of the Quarter and as Umpires enter the Arena once
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time once
Scheduled starting time (Start of Quarter) once
Three Quarter Time Interval
Start of Final Quarter Number of Occasions
Two minutes prior to the scheduled starting time twice
One minute prior to the scheduled starting time once
Scheduled starting time (Start of Quarter) once
End of Match
10.4 BRINGING PLAY TO AN END

10.4.1 End of Quarter
The Timekeepers shall sound the siren to signal the end of a quarter until a field Umpire acknowledges that the siren has been heard and brings play to an end.

10.4.2 Siren Heard by Field Umpire
Play in each quarter shall come to an end when any one of the field Umpires or emergency field Umpire hears the siren.

10.4.3 Signal
A field Umpire shall signal that they have heard the siren by blowing a whistle and holding both arms above their head.
If immediately before hearing the siren, a field Umpire is of the opinion that a Player should be awarded a Free Kick or a Mark, the field Umpire shall signal that play has come to an end and then award the Free Kick or Mark to the Player. A Free Kick will not be awarded where the football has been kicked and, after the field Umpire has heard the siren, lands out of bounds on the full.

10.5 STOPPING AND RECOMMENCING TIME

10.5.1 Stopping Time
The Timekeepers shall stop the clock which is used for the timing of a Match when:
(a) directed to do so by a field Umpire in accordance with Law 10.5.3;
(b) the goal Umpire signals that a Goal has been scored;
(c) the goal Umpire signals that a Behind has been scored; or
(d) the boundary Umpire signals that the football is Out of Bounds or Out of Bounds on the Full; or
(e) the field Umpire crosses their arms to indicate they are going to bounce or throw the football up.

10.5.2 Recommencing Time
The Timekeepers shall recommence the clock used for the timing of a Match when:
(a) directed to do so by the field Umpire in accordance with Law 10.5.3;
(b) the football is bounced or thrown up by the field Umpire;
(c) the football is brought back into play after a Behind has been scored;
(d) the football is thrown back into play by the boundary Umpire or brought back into play by a Player (as the case may be), after it has gone Out of Bounds or Out of Bounds on the Full;
(e) the football is obviously in play; or
(f) the Umpire calls ‘play on’.

10.5.3 Signalling
A field Umpire shall signal to the Timekeeper to stop the clock or re-start the clock used for the timing of the Match by blowing a whistle and raising one arm above their head.

10.5.4 Domestic Provisions
A Controlling Body may prescribe that Law 10.5.1(d) does not apply (for Matches organised and conducted by the Controlling Body).

10.6 UNAUTHORISED ENTRY ON PLAYING SURFACE AND TERMINATION OF A MATCH

10.6.1 Entry on Playing Surface
Where a person(s) enters the Playing Surface when they are not permitted to do so, the field Umpire shall:
(a) stop play at the first available opportunity; and
(b) seek the assistance of person(s) authorised by the relevant Controlling Body to remove the unauthorised person(s) from the Playing Surface.
(c) Once the person(s) has been removed from the Playing Surface, the field Umpire shall recommence play as follows depending on the circumstances:
(i) Where the Football was in dispute at the time play was stopped, by bouncing or throwing up the Football;
(ii) Where the Football was out of bounds at the time play was stopped, by directing the boundary Umpire to throw the Football in;
(iii) Where a Player had possession of the Football at the time play was stopped, by awarding a Free Kick to the Player;
(iv) Where a Player had been awarded a Free Kick or a Mark at the time play was stopped, by allowing the Player to dispose of the Football.

10.6.2 Incomplete Match
If a Match is unable to commence or continue within the time scheduled for the Match for reasons beyond the control of either Team (including circumstances where it is unsafe for the Match to proceed) the following shall apply:
(a) Match Not Commenced: The result of a Match which is unable to commence for reasons beyond the control of the Team shall be determined by the Controlling Body.
(b) Prior to Half Time: If a Match has commenced but is not able to proceed at any time within the time scheduled for the Match, the Teams shall depart from the Arena.
If the Match is unable to recommence within a 30-minute period, the Match shall be deemed to be drawn and the scores of the Teams at the time the Match was interrupted shall be used in calculating the percentage of each Team.
(c) Half Time & Beyond: If the Half Time interval has been reached and the Match is unable to proceed at any time within the time scheduled for the Match, the Teams shall leave the Arena, or in the case of Half Time, not return to the Arena.
If the Match is unable to recommence within a 30-minute period, the scores of the Teams at the time the Match was interrupted shall be deemed to be the final scores of the Match. The Team with the highest score shall be deemed the winner of the Match and the scores shall be used in calculating the percentage of each Team.
(d) Match Not Able to Proceed: Unless otherwise determined by a Controlling Body, a field Umpire shall, having regard to the health and safety of the Players and any other relevant circumstances, determine whether a Match is unable to commence or proceed. A field Umpire must determine that a Match is unable to commence or proceed for such time as lightning is present at or within the immediate proximity of the venue where the Match is being conducted in line with the AFL Extreme Weather Policy outlined in the Member Protection Policy.
(e) Recommencing of Play: Where a Team is directed to recommence play by a field Umpire and the Team fails, refuses or neglects to recommence play, the Team shall be deemed to have forfeited the Match, in which case Law 10.7 shall apply.
(f) The Controlling Body may vary the length and scheduling of the intervals, to suit practical circumstances.

10.7 FORFEITURE OF MATCH

10.7.1 Forfeiture
For the purposes of this Law, a Team forfeits a Match if:

(a) it is unable or it fails, refuses or neglects to commence or recommence play:
(i) at the scheduled starting time; or
(ii) within such other time period determined or specified by the Controlling Body, a field Umpire or these Laws; or
(b) the field Umpire determines, in accordance with these Laws, that a Team has forfeited the Match; or
(c) an event occurs under the Laws which results in a Team forfeiting the Match.

10.7.2 Consequence of Forfeiture
Where a Team forfeits a Match, the following shall apply:
(a) the points for the Match shall be awarded to the Team who did not forfeit the Match; and
(b) at the conclusion of the Home and Away Matches:
(i) the percentage of the Team who did not forfeit the Match shall be adjusted by crediting and debiting that Team with the average number of points for the Home and Away Matches that were scored for and against the Team who did forfeit the Match; and
(ii) the percentage of the Team who did forfeit the Match shall be adjusted by crediting and debiting that Team with the average number of points for the Home and Away Matches that were scored for and against the Team who did not forfeit the Match.

10.7.3 Variation by Controlling Body
If the relevant Controlling Body is of the opinion that a Team will be disadvantaged by the calculation of percentage under Law 10.7.2, the Controlling Body may, upon application by the Team, vary the points debited or credited to the Team or the method of calculating the Team’s percentage.