What Happens to Bets on Abandoned Matches?
It’s easy to forget about the wide-ranging implications of an abandoned match and all of the people that it affects, instead being caught up in the annoyance of our own fun being spoilt. It’s entirely possible that we might not even consider what happens to bets that we’ve placed on the event, which is what this page of the site is all about. For every bookmaker has a rule for what happens to a wager if it is placed on an event that ends up being abandoned for some reason.
There’s so much that goes in to every single football game that we bet on. That’s even more impressive when you remember that there’s normally a match to bet on at pretty much any hour of the day or night, as long as you don’t mind betting on games taking place in foreign countries. My point is, however frustrated you or I may be when a football match is abandoned it’s as nothing when compared to the frustration of those that have gone out to organise it, to employ the safety stewards or run opposition research. Here I’ll look at what tends to happen to your bets when a match is cancelled and what, if anything, you can do about it.
Why Might a Match Be Abandoned?
I’ve already written about why football matches might get postponed elsewhere on the site and the truth is that the reasons for matches being abandoned are actually very similar. As with pretty much anything in countries like the UK, weather can have a massive impact on whether an event is likely to finish. That’s the key thing, of course: a match that hasn’t started yet is technically postponed, regardless of how close to kick-off the decision is reached, whilst a game that was underway but is then called off will have been abandoned. It’s possible that a match might start and the weather will be fine, therefore, but midway through some freak weather occurrence kicks in and the referee has to consider whether or not to allow the game to carry on. Obvious examples include such things as lightning storms or flash floods, but snow flurries that make it impossible to see the markings on the pitch or the ball can also give the match officials pause for thought.
Crowd safety will always be one of the first things that is taken into consideration by those who decide whether or not a match will be allowed to carry on. If violence were to break out in the stands, for example, then whether or not it would get worse if the game continued will be thought through by the officials. Yet sometimes the safety of those on the pitch also needs to be thought about. It’s not uncommon for brawls to break out amongst the players, especially in South American countries. One of the best examples of this in the UK occurred at Bramall Lane in 2002 when Sheffield United hosted West Bromwich Albion. It was a fiery affair that resulted in The Blades ending up with just six men on the pitch, thanks to a combination of sendings-off and injuries. You’re not allowed to play with six players or fewer, so the referee was forced to abandon the game.
One of the most common reasons for matches to be abandoned, other than inclement weather, is if floodlights fail. It’s impossible to play a football match in the dark, after all, so if the lights go out then the players go off. Sometimes the match may just be paused as they attempt to fix the lights, but if nothing can be done then the referee will have no choice but to call a halt to proceedings. The final thing worth mentioning as far as a reason for a match to be abandoned is concerned is the health of those involved. The most obvious example of this happened in 2012 when Tottenham Hotspur we’re hosting Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup quarter-final. It was forty-one minutes into the game when Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba collapsed, having suffered a cardiac arrest. The match referee, Howard Webb, felt that the players were too shook up to continue and abandoned the game. Though he was ‘technically dead’ for seventy-eight minutes, he made a full recovery. The game was re-played ten days later.
What Happens to Single Bets When a Match Is Abandoned?
There are a number of things that can influence what happens to a bet placed on a match that is abandoned before it is completed. For starters, the country that the match is being played in will have an effect on the outcome of the bet. In Spain, for example, they tend to play out the remainder of the game at another time. That means that if a match is abandoned after, say, seventy minutes, they just play the remaining twenty minutes when it’s possible to do so. That’s different to how things are done in the UK, where the entire match is replayed. Bookmakers all tend to have different rules, with some declaring bets as void the second it’s confirmed that a match has been abandoned, whilst others will wait to see if it’s going to be re-arranged within a specific period of time.
One thing that’s pretty much universal across all bookmakers is the fact that what happens to your bet will be determined by what it is that you’ve actually bet on. If you’ve placed a bet on a market that was settled before the match was abandoned, such as First Goalscorer or First Corner, then it won’t be made void as the outcome of it is known. If it’s something that has yet to be determined, like Total Corners, Last Goalscorer or the Match Result, then the majority of bookies will declare the bet void and you’ll have your stake returned to you. Whatever the particular bookmaker that you place your bets with tends to do, they will wait for an official declaration from the Football Association about the gam, as it’s not unknown for the FA to decide that the result of an abandoned match can stand.
What Happens to Multiple Bets When a Match Is Abandoned?
In essence, what happens to a multiple bet when a match is abandoned is the same as what happens to a single bet, insomuch as it depends on what it is that you’ve bet on. Things are slightly more complicated for multiple bets, of course, but an abandoned game may not necessarily impact on all legs of the bet. Let’s say, as an example, that you’ve placed an eight-leg accumulator on the Correct Score of eight different matches. If only one of those matches is abandoned then it will simply be removed from the bet and the other seven-legs will carry on as a seven-leg accumulator. That’s true for however many legs you’ve got in your acca and doesn’t change regardless of the number of legs that are abandoned. If you’ve got a twenty-leg multiple and for some freakish reason five matches are abandoned then it will become a fifteen-leg multiple bet.
Again, though, if you’ve bet on a market that has already been determined by the time the game is abandoned then it will still stand. That means that if you’ve placed an eight-leg accumulator and one of the legs is on the First Goalscorer of the abandoned match and a goal was scored then the entire multiple will stay as is. If it’s a bet on a market that was unsettled at the time of the abandonment, however, then it’s likely that that leg will be made void. If you’ve bet on a double then the remaining leg will become a standard single bet instead and single bet rules will apply to it. Obviously the odds of your multiple bet will be adjusted accordingly, which is a bet rubbish if you had a really long odds bet on! In all instances, make sure that you check with the bookie you place your bets with what they do in the event of an abandoned game. They do have different rules from each other in some cases, so it’ll serve you well to double-check how your bet will be treated.