Home > Uncategorized > Time Wasted in Round of 16 Matches

Time Wasted in Round of 16 Matches

FIFA’s primary arguments against instant replay and, generally, against ensuring accurate, impartial outcomes to matches are: (1) referees are human and their mistakes are natural and engaging parts of the game and (2) that using instant replay or the goal-line monitor would cause unnecessary delays, affecting the spirit of the game.  I’ll address each in turn.

1. Referees are human and their mistakes are natural and engaging parts of the game.

I concede that referees are human and that humans make mistakes.  But their mistakes are not always natural and are sometimes artificially placed solely to alter the normal course of the match.  And while we certainly get riled up about bad calls, there is so much passion about the game that fans will always have something to talk about when it comes to soccer.

2.  Technology adds unnecessary delays to the otherwise quick pace of the beautiful game.

This is the argument that has some traction.  After all, nobody wants to watch a soccer match turn into the last two minutes on the clock in a basketball game.  Soccer promises 90 minutes of action and it provides 90 minutes of action.  Right?

Well, not quite.  Because of all the stalling, delaying, diving, writhing, etc. a surprising amount of time each match is lost.  Here are some statistics I compiled from the FIFA match reports for the completed matches of the Round of 16.

Match Playing Scheduled Added
URU-KOR 69 90 3
USA-GHA 98 120 6
GER-ENG 67 90 3

Playing:  Actual Playing Time as calculated by FIFA

Scheduled: The total amount of time the match was scheduled for.  Usually 90 minutes.

Added: The total stoppage time added.  As calculated by FIFA.


It’s still early, obviously, but in the Germany-England match, 20 minutes were “lost.”  20 minutes of waiting for the ball to be thrown in, kicked, a player to stand up or get off the pitch, goal celebrations, etc.  20 minutes when neither team was “playing” with the ball.  Can anyone honestly claim that adding a couple of minutes for goal-deciding calls to a couple matches is really going to waste significantly more time than all of the shenanigans of modern soccer already do?

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