LONG stoppage times are one of the consistent features of this year’s FIFA World Cup.
According to football statistics provider Opta, the matches on Monday, November 21, and Tuesday, November 22, broke the records for longest stoppage time in a single half in the World Cup since the records began in 1966.
4 – The four single halves with the most stoppage time on record (since 1966) in a single #WorldCup match have all been today:#ENGIRN 1st half (14:08)#ENGIRN 2nd half (13:08)#USAWAL 2nd half (10:34)#SENNED 2nd half (10:03)
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2022
Furthermore, all the games in the tournament have run for approximately 100 minutes.
FIFA addressed the situation earlier
The chairman of FIFA’s referee committee, Pierluigi Collina, confirmed last week that fourth officials would deliberately keep track of all time lost during each game. The purpose is to curb intentional time-wasting and compensate for time lost to video assistant referee (VAR) reviews. Collina recalled that this strategy was implemented in Russia, with ‘six, seven, or eight minutes’ added per game.
“If you want to more active time, we need to be ready to see this kind of additional time given. Think of a match with three goals scored. A celebration normally takes one, one and a half minutes, so with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes.”
Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s chief of global development, has been one of the proponents of this change. In 2009, while he was Arsenal’s manager, he demanded clarity about how referees calculated stoppage time.
“We all sit on the bench at the end of a game and if there have been four substitutions, plus two minutes of injury time, plus two minutes for another player going down, how much does that make? Nobody knows. I’d like it if we were given strict guidelines on how they calculate the time remaining.”
He questioned, “Is it 30 seconds for a substitution? Is it not? Do they take the real time when the player is down? Do they calculate the time when they call the physio on the pitch or when the player goes down?”
Injuries have been a key reason for the long stoppages
Injuries and the time taken to treat them now considered when setting stoppage time. Thus far, several players have been subject to lengthy treatments on the pitch. In the match between England and Iran, the game was paused for around 10 minutes after goalkeeper, Alireza Beinranvand, went down with a concussion. Afterwards, the referee awarded 14 minutes of extra time.
In an earlier report, The ICIR highlighted injury and workload cautions from FIFPRO, the global trade union for professional footballers. The new circumstances around the additional minutes have added another dimension to those concerns. Players now have to contend with the longer games and increased physical workload towards the end of games.
Nevertheless, the longer games have drawn some positive responses from echelons of the footballing community.
Former Liverpool midfielder, Jamie Carragher, agreed with the decision on Twitter: “Enjoying the amount of time that is being added on by the officials at the Qatar World Cup 2022. There is too much time wasting in football!”
It remains to be seen how these adjustments will play out in the knockout stages.
Joel currently monitors and writes stories affecting the local political and sports atmosphere. In his spare time, he strives to accentuate data privacy legislation on the continent.
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