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Why is there so much stoppage time at the Qatar World Cup?

The International Football Association Board‘s Laws of the Game explain what referees add time on for:

Law 7: The duration of the game

Allowance is made by the referee in each half for all playing time lost in that half through:

  • substitutions
  • assessment and/or removal of injured players
  • wasting time
  • disciplinary sanctions
  • medical stoppages permitted by competition rules e.g. ‘drinks’ breaks (which should not exceed one minute) and ‘cooling’ breaks (ninety seconds to three minutes)
  • delays relating to VAR ‘checks’ and ‘reviews’
  • any other cause, including any significant delay to a restart (e.g. goal celebrations)

The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each half. The additional time may be increased by the referee but not reduced.

The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by changing the length of the second half.

Chairman of the FIFA referees committee, Pierluigi Collina, told ESPN that in the past, not enough time had been added at the end of halves. 

“What we already did in Russia [2018] was to more accurately calculate the time to be compensated,” Collina said. 

“We told everybody to don’t 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 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.

“Even at the time I was a referee, the info [on added time] came from the fourth official, you are too much focused on what’s going on that it’s possible not to consider something. It’s the fourth official who usually proposes the amount of added time and the referee tends to decide…and decides.”

THEY ARE ALSO CALCULATING POSSESSION STATS DIFFERENTLY, in case people are asking why they don’t add up to 100%. 

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