A football match lasts 90 minutes according to the clock. However, many studies have revealed that the effective playing time of a match is less, which is starting to become a problem.
A huge waste of time during battles
An article published by The team shows the average effective playing time of each team in Ligue 1 since the start of the season. We noticed very quickly that it would not exceed 60 minutes. In fact, PSG dominates this ranking with 60 minutes of actual play, while Ajaccio ends up with less than 55 minutes of play. We find LOSC right in the middle with Rennes, Nantes and Lorient with an average time of over 55 minutes.
But this problem does not only affect Ligue 1, which is seen to have very serious refereeing during matches. In fact, even the biggest European competition is affected by the absence of this game. This time, the time varies between 65 minutes for Manchester City and 55 minutes for Liverpool. So we noticed that this problem affects all competitions.
The extra time is supposed to make up for this lost time but turns out to be very short due to all the stoppages during a match. A study conducted on 50 Premier League matches in 2019-2020, which is considered the loosest championship in refereeing, shows the average time spent in stoppage time. We quickly noticed that ball outings were the moments most used to waste time with no less than 8 minutes for touches and 6 minutes for clearances. Medical care takes about 3 minutes.
A big problem for football players
It’s true that a player who takes time to get off the ball or even fakes after contact is sometimes annoying for the team and the opposing supporters. And this significant loss of time is something that some football players point out.
Since his arrival at FC Barcelona, Xavi has complained several times about this loss of time: “We have to move on to the actual time. We will end the simulations, the waste of time and the tricks. Wasting time is not malice, it is fraud..
Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen also gave his opinion on the subject: “You really need to move to actual game time as soon as possible. Teams that take advantage of this by constantly diving and crying are ruining the fun of the fans who want to see a good game of football and not a game.”
And this case is starting to cause trouble for the football authorities. FIFA is currently looking into the matter. In addition, Gianni Infantino recently spoke out saying that: “A lot of wasted time in a game. If the viewer is asked to pay for tickets, subscriptions to watch 90 minutes of football, and a match lasts 50 minutes, there is something that needs to be checked, he said. It will not be a 100-minute game, but there is no doubt that the minutes of extra time given by a referee should be related to the time lost during the game. »
Research solutions to improve the experience
If we use the words of the FIFA president, a match should have 90 minutes of effective playing time. Only, if we apply this idea to the current system, players will play matches of 2 hours and 15 minutes on average, which will affect the quality of play and the impact of teams.
Therefore, it is necessary to find a compromise between using extra time and stopping the stopwatch at the time out. If we look at other sports, basketball and hockey are the only two sports where the clock stops at every stoppage of play. However, in rugby, the clock only stops for really long timeouts such as injury or video refereeing intervention.
Several solutions have been proposed:
- An effective playing time of 30 minutes per half with a stoppage of the clock for each touch, injury, foul, etc.
- Fixing gross injustices and stopping the clock for the most serious cases.
Perhaps football fans will have to see the rules change in the next few years to allow for more effective playing time in their club’s matches.
It’s interesting. And it’s not that easy to transition into actual game time.
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— Thibault Le Rol (@ThibaultLeRol) October 24, 2022