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Why is there so much stoppage time being added to games in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022?

Former refereeing legend and present day chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, Italian Pierluigi Collina has the answer as to why so much more time is being added.

Why is there so much stoppage time being added to games in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022?
Alex Livesey - DanehouseGetty

From air-conditioned stadiums, to battles about beer, there have been a few quirks to behold in this World Cup, but perhaps where football itself is concerned the most notable one has been the amount of stoppage time that’s been given in games. That’s to say it’s been a whole lot.

How much time are we talking?

On the second day of the 2022 World Cup, the extra time clock held by the fourth official was a curious sight to see. In all three games played on the day, fans were noticeably surprised by the length of time added on as the end of each half approached. In England’s 6-2 win over Iran, almost 30 minutes was awarded across the two halves. It’s worth mentioning there were head injuries suffered by both goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand and defender Harry Maguire, along with a lengthy VAR check, but still, it’s not the norm. Where the Netherlands are concerned, they definitely benefitted from the eight minutes added on in the second half of their victory against Senegal Indeed, they scored a goal just before the end of it. Lastly, there was the tie between the U.S.A. and Wales which carried on for a further nine minutes. So, what’s the deal? Why is there so much stoppage time being given?

Former referee Pierluigi Collina has the answer

When you think of a football referee, it’s quite likely that the image of refereeing legend Pierluigi Collina comes to mind. Today the Italian legend no longer takes on the role of the man in the middle, but he is the chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, which is to say he knows a thing or two about the rules and regulations of the beautiful game. With that, he recently spoke to ESPN about the fact that longer periods of stoppage time will actually be a fixture of the tournament in Qatar.

“We told everybody to not be surprised if they see the fourth official raising the electronic board with a big number on it, six, seven or eight minutes. If you want 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. What we want to do is accurately calculate the added time at the end of each half. It can be the fourth official to do that, we were successful in Russia [2018] and we expect the same in Qatar. I am not talking about VAR intervention; this is something which is different and calculated by the Video Assistant Referee in a very precise way.”

An interesting point about stoppage time in Qatar’s World Cup

With Collina’s comments suggesting that longer periods of stoppage time will be common in the tournament, apparently in the name of ensuring more active playing time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ve already witnessed some curious occurrences though it’s still early days. Indeed, the four single halves with the most stoppage time on record England hosted and won the tournament in 1966 all occurred on Monday. In the first half of England’s game with Iran, we saw 14 minutes and eight seconds and then the second half continued for a further 13 minutes and eight seconds as well. Then, there was the aforementioned match between the Netherlands and Senegal which carried on for 10 minutes and three seconds. Last but not least, the United States and Wales played an additional 10 minutes and 34 seconds in their draw on Monday night.


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