“We have raised the actual playing time of matches”

“The issue of matches that last even less than 50 minutes of effective time is something that comes from a long time ago. But people want to see football, indeed more football. Like Fifa and Ifab, we have been asking for something to be done for years, to try to have more time to play during a game”. These are the words of Pierluigi Collina, President of the Fifa Referees Commission, answering questions from international journalists in Qatar about the “monster” recoveries that characterized the group stage of the top world competition.

“We gave our referees some specific indications – explains Collina -, to be considered accurately, in particular the time for player injuries which had already been calculated, but in a standardized way, for one minute for each intervention. But there are many injuries that take more than a minute to heal.And then there are also the “celebrations”, the celebrations for a goal, which are a moment of joy for those who score, but are also a waste of time, and for the opponents there are fewer chances to play.Finally, substitutions that have gone from 3 to 5 and interventions by the VAR must be evaluated, both when there is a delay in the resumption of play due to a check carried out by the video match officials, and for the review when the referee goes to the monitor. Reviewing any incident obviously takes time, and this time must be compensated for.”

“In the last World Cup, Russia 2018, the average recovery time allowed during the tournament was six and a half minutes – concludes Collina – today, with two additional substitution slots, we have reached an average of around 10 minutes, the which is not a dramatic change, but it offers us the possibility of having so far on average almost 59 minutes of effective time played”.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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