There can’t be many situations more annoying in betting. You’ve spent an age doing your research, found some outstanding value to add to your betslip, and then lo and behold a downpour of Biblical proportions comes along and causes the match to be abandoned.
A similar thing can happen in tennis and golf too, where a player you really fancy to do the business picks up an injury and has to withdraw mid-event.
So what happens to your bets in these circumstances? Do you lose your stake or is your wager considered void? And what happens when the match is already underway and then gets abandoned after it has begun?
Let’s iron this out.
Match Abandoned vs Match Postponed
It’s important to make this distinction early on because a match that has been abandoned is a very different beast to one that has been postponed, and this classification will have a bearing on how your bet plays out.
An abandoned match is one that has started but cannot finish for whatever reason. There can be any number of reasons why this happens, but as soon as a ball is kicked, hit, or thrown, it is classed as abandoned if it ends prematurely thereafter.
A postponed match is one that is rescheduled for another date before the game has begun or any action has taken place. In this instance your bet could be void or it could be held over until the match is actually played – all bookies tend to have different rules on postponed matches, so check their terms & conditions for more information.
Why Do Football Matches Get Abandoned?
Some parts of the world experience more extreme weather than others, and it is this – a sudden madcap burst of inclement conditions – that is the most common cause of abandonment. It could be a heavy deluge of rain, snow, fog, a pitch that freezes… any of these can be a factor in a referee pulling the plug on a tie.
The majority of reasons why a match can be abandoned are, typically, out of the control of most involved. There have been instances of crowd trouble or, sadly even in this day and age, racism that have led players to walk from the pitch. In this instance, there is little that a referee can do to prevent the abandonment.
Then there are the reasons we can file under downright bizarre. Floodlight failure is one that occasionally rears its head, and once upon a time this was thought to be at the centre of a betting scandal!
A drone was responsible for causing a European Championship qualifier to be abandoned, and so the lesson we have learned in the modern game is to expect the unexpected.
What Happens Now?
It seems to depend on what you have bet on – and more specifically where – as to what happens next. In English football, for example, abandoned matches tend to be replayed at a later date, although the Football Association’s rules on that are gloriously vague:
“…any league match which from any cause whatever falls short of 90 minutes’ duration may be ordered to count as a completed fixture, be replayed in full or in part on whatever terms and conditions the Board shall in their absolute discretion determine and shall be played in compliance with these Regulations and the Football Association Rules respectively, and under the Laws of the Game as approved by the International Football Association Board.”
And then there are other countries, Spain being the most notable, where there is no such thing as an abandoned game. If a match is aborted at half-time, for example, it will be replayed at a later date but from the 45-minute mark, and with the score as it stands as the starting point.
If you are a regular punter of a certain league or country, it is worth checking out their specific rules governing the abandonment of matches.
Will My Bet Stand?
This is the million dollar question, and the reality is that different bookmakers have different rules regarding abandoned matches and when bets are void and when they still stand.
To give you an idea of the difference, here is how SkyBet decide upon abandoned matches:
“If a match is abandoned, any bets where the outcome has already been decided e.g. half-time result or first team to score, will stand. All other bets will be made void regardless of the scoreline at the time of abandonment. Abandoned games will be deemed to be games which do not reach their natural conclusion by midnight local time.’
Games where a referee removes the players from the field of play for a temporary period, but resumes the remaining minutes of play by midnight local time, will not be deemed as abandoned.”
So the rules at SkyBet concern the completion of matches by midnight on match day, or alternatively if your bet is related to a market that has been satisfied (first goalscorer for instance) then you still can get your hands on a payout.
Another point to note; buried deep in the bookmakers’ terms & conditions is that even matches that are deemed to be completed by FIFA, UEFA or any other governing body will still be voided as far as your bets are concerned. This was the case during the infamous Serbia vs Albania drone-flag-gate, where even though the score was 0-0 at the time the match was abandoned, UEFA eventually declared Albania as 3-0 winners.
There are some exceptions to the general rule, and while these don’t generally apply to football other sports do serve up some anomalies. Here’s bet365 on American Football, for instance:
What Happens to My Acca?
So what’s the score when the abandoned match is a bet that forms part of a multiple? Here the rules are nice and clear: any void bet will be stricken from your accumulator, and so four-folds become trebles, trebles become doubles and so forth.
The result is that the relevant odds will be removed from your multiple, and your potential winnings will be recalculated as a result.