A replay (also called a rematch) is the repetition of a match in many sports.
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. Games going to replays in the FA Cup since 1991 are only replayed once, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the tie if the replay ends in a draw. Historically, FA Cup games would be replayed as many times as necessary until one team managed to win - in 1971, a fourth qualifying round match between Alvechurch and Oxford City was replayed five times after the initial match ended 2-2, with Alvechurch winning 1-0 in the fifth replay to settle the tie.
Replays can sometimes also take place on occasion if a team has fielded an ineligible player in the original match, or if a player has been injured as a result of an action by a spectator (such as throwing a coin or a bottle). However, more common consequences for such actions include awarding victory to non-offending teams and/or deducting points from offending teams.
Until 2007, in the rare event that a Major League Baseball game ended in a tie, it was replayed if necessary to decide postseason advancement. Tied games counted in statistical records, but not counted in a team's win-loss percentage. Since 2007, tied games that must be abandoned for whatever reason are resumed (if feasible and/or necessary) from the point of suspension, as opposed to being replayed in full.
Until the 2020 Major League Baseball season, it was possible for teams to protest games, usually if the manager believed his team was negatively impacted by a consequential umpiring decision that violated MLB rules. If the protest was upheld, the game would be replayed from the "point-of-protest" at a later date. In total, 15 MLB games were partially replayed under this rule, the last such occurrence happening in 2014. Most upheld protests were in the National League. The only case where the American League upheld a protest and ordered a replay was after the famous Pine Tar Incident in 1983. The rule was abolished after the 2019 MLB season, so protests and ensuing replays are no longer possible.
In boxing, rematches (referred to as "rematch" and not "replay", or simply by the match-up followed by a Roman numeral, as in Holyfield vs. Tyson II) are common and expected, producing historically significant moments in the sport. Examples include:
Replays are often used as tiebreakers in the Gaelic games of hurling, Gaelic football, camogie and ladies' Gaelic football. Extra time, penalty shoot-outs and free-taking shootouts have, in recent years, been increasingly used as tiebreakers to prevent fixture congestion.
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.
As of 2023, 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." Former commissioner Pete Rozelle refused on principle to use the provisions, notably after the notorious Snowplow Game. 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. When this situation occurred in the aftermath of Damar Hamlin's on-field collapse in January 2023, it was decided instead to create an alternate playoff path for both the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, rather than replay the game.