FIFA World Cup 2022: Why there’s so much stoppage time at World Cup matches in Qatar

  • No, you’re not imagining it: FIFA World Cup 2022 matches are taking longer than usual.
  • England beat Iran in a record 117 minute match last week.
  • From timeouts to injuries, here’s why fans are seeing longer games.
Fans who can’t get enough football have been spoiled at the with record amounts of overtime added to matches.
Football games last 90 minutes, with two 45-minute halves, plus stoppage/injury time at the end of each half to make up for any delays in play.
While stoppage time has traditionally been allocated sparingly, with fans often used to seeing just a few extra minutes added on at the end of a half despite sometimes lengthy delays to play, the World Cup in Qatar has seen many games run for well beyond the traditional 90. minutes.

So far, a total of more than three hours of stoppage time has been added to matches at this World Cup, a tally that equates to more than two extra games of football for fans.

England fans hungry for milestones to celebrate can now lay claim to winning the longest match ever played at a World Cup, after The 6-2 in a game that ran for almost two hours.

Tuesday’s match clocked in at a whopping 117 minutes and 16 seconds, with 14 minutes and eight seconds of time added to the first half after a head injury to Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, and 13 minutes and eight seconds played at the end of the second half . .

Two men show concern for the health of a goalkeeper who is standing

There was a long delay in the first half of the England v Iran World Cup match as Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was assessed after he and a teammate collided heavily. Source: Getty / Clive Brunskill

This is why we are seeing longer matches than usual.

‘Unacceptable’: What did FIFA say about the length of the match?

Goal celebrations, injury treatment, video referee (VAR) debates, substitutions, penalties and yellow and red cards are just some of the interruptions that can cut into playing time.

FIFA has made it clear to players and fans that match time at the Qatar World Cup will be extended to account for these delays.

With goal celebrations lasting as long as one and a half minutes, it is “easy to lose three, four or five minutes, and this has to be made up at the end”, said Pierluigi Collina, president of FIFA’s referees’ commission, before the tournament has started. .

Mr Collina said FIFA intended to redouble the efforts it began at the 2018 Russia World Cup to combat delays eating into active game time.
“In Russia, we tried to be more precise to make up for the time lost during games and that’s why you saw six, seven or even eight minutes added,” the celebrated former World Cup referee. .

“Think about it: if you have three goals in a half, you’re probably going to lose four or five minutes in total because of celebrations and the restart.”

Mr Collina said the purpose of more accurately calculating stoppage time was to “offer more spectacle to those watching the World Cup”.

“We have advised our referees to be very precise in counting the time added at the end of each half to make up for the time lost,” he said.

“What we want to avoid are matches lasting 42, 43, 44, 45 minutes of active play. This is unacceptable.”


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