IFAB member Collina talks effective playing time and possible rule changes

Respected former referee Pierluigi Collina gave his thoughts on the inclusion of effective time in football.

The topic of effective time has been heated in recent years, with some calling for changes to the way that extra time is calculated, unhappy with stop-start matches that end with only around 50 minutes of effective time. Effective or actual time is the amount of time the ball was actually in play during the match, not counting stops in play like injuries, celebrations and lining up set pieces.

Speaking to Calciatori Brutti, Collina discussed effective time in football and the possible changes on the horizon.

“I am part of a body called the International Football Association Board, IFAB, which is the one that oversees the rules. One of the things we are talking about is whether it is not worthwhile for all matches to have the same duration.

“If you look at the statistics today you see that there are teams that play 52 minutes, others that play 43 minutes and others that play 58 minutes. If you add up all these times in a league the difference becomes big.

“Another thing to think about is: I as a spectator pay a ticket, physically at the stadium, or at home on PPV, to see 90 minutes of football but I see 44, 45, 46 played. Half the price of my ticket goes into unplayed time. Most of the wasted time comes with throw-ins or goal kicks.

“These things are functional to the game, but eight to nine minutes for throw-ins, eight to nine minutes for goal-kicks… Precisely to overcome the unspectacular nature of certain things in a match a few years ago, the goalkeeper was prevented from picking up the ball passed voluntarily by a teammate.

“How spectacular is it to see a goalkeeper with a ball in his hand? The initial reaction is ‘football will never be the same again’. Today, however, it is obvious that it is much more fun. So we are doing some thinking.

“Today, what is accepted as good actual playing time is around an hour, around 60 minutes. That’s the dividing line between games that last a bit shorter and others that last as long as 66-67-68 minutes. It also depends on the players.

“We, as referees, as FIFA, also for the next World Cup, we will give the indication to be careful to recover lost time, which are not dives but goals. If three goals are scored in one half, the average celebration is one and a half minutes each, that’s five minutes of celebration, which nobody remembers, but it’s five minutes less played.

“If we’re going to be a bit more precise we’ll have to prepare ourselves for a nine-minute injury time, today nine minutes is eye-popping, but give those who want to see a spectacle the chance to see a bit more.”

It is likely that rules or changes will be introduced in the coming years to address effective time, although the nature of these alterations are still unclear. Many ideas have been proposed, such as pausing the clock when the ball leaves play or simply adding close to 10 minutes of extra time if needed.

3 Comments on “IFAB member Collina talks effective playing time and possible rule changes”

  1. Another ref trying to be the center of attention. The game is not about them. Stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Shut up and just try to call a good game. Not deciding the outcome. Leave football alone with these new gimmicks.

  2. Simple: Restart the official time once the ball is put back in play after any delay such as Neymar diving, throw-ins, celebrations, injuries, goslkeeper/goal kick time wasting.

    The true Vittorio
    Only third to Vittorio Pozzo and my dear grandfather.

  3. If the refs used the rules regarding dives(i.e. yellow card for embellishment) the lost time would be vanish in short order. Allow one rollover give a yellow for a second and a red card for 3 rolls. The last people to be changing the rules of the game are the refs. They’ve screwed up the game already – I’ve given up watching the game live on tv – the offside and hand ball reviews were introduced strictly for the benefit of the referees not the game or the players. Fans were happy with the rules for decades. Rules should only be changed for safety of the players and referees need to follow them not change them!

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