Replay (sports)

A replay (also called a rematch) is the repetition of a match in many sports.

Association football

In association football, replays were often used to decide the winner in a knock-out tournament when the previous match ended in a draw, especially in finals. In 1970, FIFA (the worldwide governing body of the sport) and IFAB (the international rules committee for the sport) allowed penalty shoot-outs to be held if a match ended in a draw after extra time. The penalty shootout made its appearance immediately thereafter. The first instance of a shootout replacing a replay (rather than lots) was the final of the 1976 European championship. The shootout's first use at the World Cup took place in the 1982 semi-finals. Replays are now only used in the early rounds of the English FA Cup tournament, as well as rounds up until the semi-finals in the Scottish Cup.

Replays can sometimes also take place on occasion if a team has fielded an ineligible player in the original match,[1] or if a player has been injured as a result of an action by a spectator (such as throwing a coin or a bottle).[2]


In boxing, rematches (referred to as "rematch" and not "replay") have produced some historically significant moments in the sport. Examples include:

Gridiron football

The National Football League has a clause in its rules that allows the commissioner to order a whole or partial replay of a game that has been corrupted by an "extraordinary act." For a partial replay, the game is reset to the point immediately before the play in which the act took place, with all game parameters (time, score, ball position and possession) set to where they were at that point. A full replay discards the result of the previous game altogether and restarts the game from its beginning.

To date, the NFL has never used its extraordinary act clause. The rulebook states that the authority is only to be used in the event that "any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game."[3] Former commissioner Pete Rozelle refused on principle to use the provisions.[4] Under commissioner Roger Goodell, the league also opposes using the power, mainly because of the domino effect it could have on the rest of the schedule and the financial ramifications that would result.[5]

Notable replayed games


  1. Fox, Norman (3 October 1992). "Football: Leeds ordered to play third match". The Independent. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  2. Forsyth, Roddy (25 September 2009). "Rapid Vienna's sense of humour failure against Celtic in the Europa League". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. Florio, Mike (January 21, 2019). "Commissioner has authority to take action over Rams-Saints outcome, in theory". Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. See: Snowplow Game
  5. Dedaj, Paulina (January 25, 2019). "NFL opposes Rams-Saints do-over, saying it could cost league more than $100M: court filing". Fox News. Retrieved January 26, 2019.