– What is the price?! nine minutes?! Why so much?! Why?! – The Japanese journalist sitting next to me was emotionally involved in the match against Germany, when the technical referee raised the scoreboard and revealed extra time Toys. He shouted it to a supposed fellow sitting to his left, but half of the press rostrum heard him. Japan was leading 2-1 at the time and the opponents were pressing. He got up again as the 100th minute clock approached and Manuel Neuer was running across the pitch into the Japan penalty area to assist a corner kick. – How much more?! How much can you?! He hit his fists on his thighs. After a while, he sighed, because the equalizing goal was not scored, and the referee ended the match, and the Japanese national team, which drew in the group of death with Germany and Spain, was one of the favorites behind them.
But with overtime, this tournament has become very interesting. Few matches last less than 100 minutes. By making referees add too many of them, FIFA is drawing attention to one of the biggest problems of modern football. There is no other team system that will waste so much time. And from everywhere you can hear that little recipients do not have time, they get bored quickly and they want emotions right now – as often as possible and as quickly as possible. We may be witnessing the first step towards a truly revolutionary transformation from two halves to two 45-minute halves.
Matches in Qatar last at least 100 minutes
The opening match between Qatar and Ecuador lasted 10 minutes in total, with the referee adding 5 minutes to the first half and 5 minutes to the second half. Senegal-Netherlands: also 10 minutes longer. United States of America – Wells: 13 minutes (4 + 9). England – Iran: 24 minutes (14 + 10) due to a goalkeeper injury similar to Saudi Arabia’s injury against Argentina, with an additional 19 minutes (5 + 14). Examples from others matches similar. About ten minutes added to the second half fewer and fewer surprises and corresponds to what Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s chief referee, announced just before the World Cup. “No one should be surprised if nine minutes are added to a normal match,” he said, explaining that a lot of time is wasted in football. It takes an average of one and a half minutes to achieve a goal. Each substitution is at least 25 seconds long, and each VAR intervention is tens more seconds without a game. There are fouls, restarts of the ball out of bounds. Time is running out, and players who are interested in it can do a lot to pass it as much as possible. There are minute thieves in every team – they can lie on the field for a long time even after making an accurate foul, they can walk off the field, they can talk to the referee, and they can even accurately position the ball before kicking it. Just to get close to the end of the match without risking losing a goal.
Football is the only serious team sport that allows you to waste a lot of time. In handball and basketball, the clock stops. On the other hand, in football, you spend at least an hour and a half on the field, but you play less than an hour. This is somewhat real playing time, sometimes called net time. The rest goes to the aforementioned rest periods. Average playing time Premier League Last season it was just over 55 minutes, and in weaker leagues it’s even dropped to 45 minutes. FIFA talks about it, and so do the experts around it.
– We directed our referees to be very careful in calculating the time that must be added at the end of each half to make up for lost time due to various accidents. We want to avoid matches with 42, 43, 44, 45 minutes of active play. “This is unacceptable to us,” Collina said.
First of all, the young fans, for whom football is trying to fight but are in a losing position, have trouble staying focused on one thing for too long. They are distracted, thirsty for stimuli. Football – along with the specificity of the game – has a problem. Adding minutes to make up for lost time and increasing effective time is the solution to this problem. One of the first steps, not very firm, but indicating that more may appear. With game time shortened, for example into two 30-minute halves and stopping the clock as a final solution. FIFA and IFAB (the regulatory body) already mentioned this in 2017. They said then, although they were considered conservative and prudent, that there should be more ball in the ball.
The first step. It is important to be in the right direction
The side effects of these changes are very beneficial to FIFA. Longer matches also get longer send, which is the domain of advertisers. If the sponsor’s logo swings behind the players’ backs not for 90 minutes, but for 110 minutes or more – so much the better. This is only the beginning of the World Cup, but it will be interesting to see how players’ behavior will be affected by the knowledge that referees are more restrictive when it comes to adding minutes. If they stop stealing minutes, knowing that in the end they will be returned anyway, change will fulfill its primary mission. Physiotherapists and coaches worry that the extra minutes will tire players and increase the risk of injury. And so this season has an extraordinary intensity, because the World Cup took place in the middle of it.
It will be time to draw conclusions and take further steps after the tournament. The one with lengthening matches looks like the first. But in the right direction.
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