Stoppage Time In Soccer: All The Details

At the end of both halves in soccer, the referee flashes a number up on the sidelines. Even though each half is 45 minutes of action, stoppage time is part of the play as well.

What is stoppage time, also known as extra time or injury time? How do referees figure out how much to add? While it is not an exact science, understanding the thought process can help people make more sense of it all.

What is Stoppage Time in soccer? Stoppage time happens twice a game, at the end of the first and second half. The head referee will determine how many extra minutes are added to the clock, and then they will let play go until roughly that time. Generally speaking, two to five minutes is added as stoppage time.

Why Is There No Exact Time Shown?

Despite the fact that the number is flashed up at the end of each half, there is no exact time for players to play to. They pretty much know when the final whistle will blow roughly, but soccer referees will let a final push for a goal play out.

The reasoning behind this is that attacks take time to develop on a large soccer field. If a team is attacking for one last attempt for a goal, they don’t need to kick a buzzer-beater. Instead, the referee can blow the whistle to end the half or match once the ball switches sides.

How Do Referees Determine Stoppage Time In Soccer?

It might seem at times that stoppage time in soccer is just made up out of the blue. However, referees will consider a variety of issues that slow up the match at one point.

For starters, any type of player removal needs to be part of the decision. That could be something simple such as a substitution, or removal of a player due to injury. It takes time for players to get off the field, which needs to be factored into the match itself.

If there is any type of disciplinary action during the marriage, that also slows things down. It takes a while to assess yellow or red cards, and if a player is sent off, that usually adds at least a couple of minutes to everything.

Delays due to technology can play a role as well, as everything is not perfect with VAR technology. It takes a little bit of time to review certain plays, and that should be part of the added time.

Finally, if a team is simply wasting time blatantly, that can actually play a role in additional time. While killing the clock is a strategy used by some teams, doing tactics that go beyond just simple delays will be something to consider.

What Is The Shortest and Longest Amount of Stoppage Time?

  • Shortest: 1 Minute
  • Longest: 15+ Minutes

There have been tales of stoppage time being 15 minutes or more in some lower leagues, but at the professional level, it very rarely goes over 10 minutes. The record in the English Premier League happened in 2013, as Arsenal vs. West Ham United had 12 minutes and 58 seconds.

For the shortest stoppage time, it is usually at least a minute. While there might not seem like any stoppages in action, it is important to remember that things like throw-ins, corners, and more all take time.

How Important Is Stoppage Time?

Adding just a few minutes to each half might not seem like much at all, but this can be a very critical part of a match in general. Some teams use this time to make a push to either pull ahead and win a match or play for a tie. Teams that have proper execution can come through with just a little bit of time overall.

Studies show that more than 10% of all goals happened during the stoppage time, despite being such a small part of the match. That’s a pretty significant chunk compared to the rest of the match, which just shows the amount of chaos that goes into late magic situations.

Why No Solution In Perfect

There might be some people who complain about the fact that stoppage time is not as precise as it should be. Get too precise, and a late push for when a scoring opportunity could open up runs out of time. There’s no perfect solution, but it seems to be working right now as far as the setup is concerned.

Referees ultimately attempt to make the match as fair as possible for both teams, and stoppage time has worked as a solution for time delays.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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