The organising national association shall appoint an official to ensure that all arrangements for the match run smoothly. He shall be the main link with the commissioner throughout the whole match.

Countdown before kick-off
  • security check completed
- 2h
  • arrival of the commissioner
- 2h

The following facilities must now be ready for the commissioner to check:
  • security service, loudspeakers, scoreboard, stadium personnel, dressing rooms for teams and referees/assistant referees, assistant referees' flags, match balls, first-aid facilities, completion of pitch (markings, goals, substitutes' benches, substitution numbers, ground advertising, camera positions in the enclosure, corner flags);
  • arrival of the referees/assistant referees and teams, meet up with media officer to coordinate release of line-up forms
- 1h 30 m
  • line-up forms to be handed out to teams
- 1h 30 m
  • collection of completed line-up forms
    (copies to media and other services)
- 1h 15 m
  • teams' warm-up on the pitch
- 45 m to 20 m
  • final inspection of the pitch
- 15 m
  • welcome announcement of the team line-ups
    by the loudspeaker announcer
- 15 m
  • teams wait at the tunnel ready to come onto the pitch
- 10 m
  • entrance of the teams onto the pitch to the tune of the FIFA anthem
- 8 m
  • national anthems
- 6 m
  • team photographs
- 2 m
  • toss of coin for choice of ends and kick-off
- 1 m
  • kick-off
- 0

The commissioner shall arrange with the organisers the exact procedure to be followed before and after the match.

Formalities such as the entrance of the teams, referees and assistant referees onto the pitch, the national anthems being played, etc., should be kept brief (not more than 10 minutes) so that the match can start punctually.

The teams are led onto the field in two lines by the referees and assistant referees, as specified in the countdown to the match. The lines may by headed by ballboys carrying the FIFA fair play flag, if available. The captain of each team heads the line of players and only the eleven starting players may enter the pitch. The home team forms the line on the left and the away team on the right. Both lines stop approx. 10 m inside the pitch parallel to the touchline and facing the VIP box, with the referees and assistant referees between the two teams. During the march-on the FIFA anthem is played until the teams have formed the line. Then the national anthem of each team is played. Players must respect the national anthem being played by standing still and quietly during both anthems. The national anthem of the visiting team is played first.

After the final whistle, both teams must join the referee and the assistant referees on the centre of the pitch to wave goodbye to the spectators. They then all leave the field together.

It is not customary for opening ceremonies and other entertainment to be organised at FIFA competition matches. Opening ceremonies and other entertainment before the match are permitted only on condition that they do not affect the condition of the pitch.

The commissioner shall make sure that he arrives at the stadium at least 2 hours before kick-off and the referees and assistant referees at least 90 minutes before.

Teams must be given the opportunity to warm up before the start of the match. If there is no other suitable area available next to the stadium, the teams may warm up on the pitch itself.

The commissioner shall be given a seat in the stadium (VIP box) with the best overall view of the entire stadium. Before the match, he should walk from his seat to the referee's dressing room and onto the pitch, so that he can find his way about quickly and without delay, if necessary. The referee inspector shall be seated next to or close to the commissioner to facilitate contact.

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