During the World Cup in Russia last year, matches lasted longer than usual. A total of nine games in the tournament saw stoppage times of more than 10 minutes, including England’s 6-2 win over Iran. The Netherlands’ 1-1 draw against Senegal and the USA’s 1-1 draw with Wales also saw additional stoppage time. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is worried about time-wasting during matches and has urged the referees to record the time-wasting more accurately.
Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which kicked off on November 20, the International FA Board has been conducting research on the effective playing time of matches. FIFA is considering adding time to games to make sure players play longer and for red cards, injuries, and VAR interventions. The new technology that has been used in the World Cup has been credited with making officials’ offside decisions faster and more accurate.
Last week, Fifa referee chiefs arrived in Doha to check for time-wasting incidents. In the England-Iran game, a lengthy VAR check added 29 minutes to the match. The game also saw several incidents of injury, including a head injury to Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. This delay in the game meant the stopwatch stopped ticking for the public, but the match continued.
The first four games of the tournament saw 60 minutes added to regulation 90. This was the result of five substitutions per team. In addition, a backpass rule was introduced to close a time-wasting area in 1992. A semi-automatic offside rule was also implemented, which allows officials to make offside decisions with just a touch.
The FIFA refereeing committee has informed all tournament referees that it will check every questionable incident. FIFA is looking into the possibility of extending the length of matches to 100 minutes. However, the basic length of matches will remain at 90 minutes.
Several games in Russia this year have also lasted longer than expected. In addition to the England-Iran game, the Netherlands’ 2-0 win against Senegal and the USA’s 1-0 win against Wales added more than 10 minutes of stoppage time. The United States’ 2-1 win against Argentina also added 14 minutes, as did the opening game against Qatar and Ecuador.
The FIFA refereeing committee is also looking at extending the length of matches. According to the FIFA press release, it will “continue to monitor and take action on the amount of time spent on stoppages.” The committee has been instructed to add time accurately. FIFA also plans to increase the amount of time for penalties and substitutions.
FIFA is also looking at the amount of time that is spent after goals. Normally, after a goal, celebrations take place, which normally take one to a half minute. However, the FIFA committee said it will look at these times and consider them in calculating the amount of time needed to finish the game.
Football fans are also looking at the amount of time that is added to matches. According to the International FA Board, the most common delay in matches is a goal scored. The average stoppage time in matches is three to five minutes. However, if a goal is scored in stoppage time, the stopwatch will stop.