What Does FT Mean In Soccer?

The timing in soccer can be a bit confusing, and there are several terms that describe the different time segments of the game. In general, a soccer game consists of two 45-minute halves. The clock begins at zero and counts up to 45:00. 

Then there is a period of stoppage time that varies in length before the break at half-time. Regardless of how much stoppage time is added to the first half, the second half begins at 45:00 and counts up to 90:00. Another period of stoppage time means that the game usually carries on beyond 90 minutes.

In some cases, there are additional time periods and even dreaded penalty shoot-outs. So when you see “FT” in reference to soccer, you might not know what it stands for or what it actually means.

What does FT mean in soccer? FT in soccer stands for full-time. This means 90 minutes of regular play + stoppage time (usually 1-5 minutes). If it’s a knockout tournament and the match ends up in a draw after full time, overtime will be added, but that is not included in the term FT.

The Three Types of Time in a Soccer Game

In general, you have the regulation 90-minute duration of the game. Then there is additional stoppage time at the end of each 45-minute half. There may be overtime periods, and there may be a penalty shoot-out which isn’t a time-bound period.

So what exactly does FT mean for the course of the game?

When Does Full Time End?

Technically speaking, the full time of a soccer game is each of the two 45-minute halves plus the associated stoppage time. Full time is usually more than the 90 minutes on the clock, but that has to do with how timekeeping works in a soccer game.

Other sports have clocks that stop at certain points of the game. For instance, in basketball, when a player is fouled, the game clock is paused. It resumes when regular play resumes. That doesn’t happen in soccer. Instead, the numbers keep turning over no matter what goes on.

It’s up to one of the referees to keep track of how much time passes where the players aren’t actually playing the game. Those minutes are added on at the end of each half.

However, they’re not so much in addition to the 90 minutes. Stoppage time instead makes up for any delays in the game. It wouldn’t be needed if the clock was paused during injuries, substitutions, etc. So the players still play the full 90 minutes.

That’s why stoppage time is included in the term “full time.”

Extra Time

Soccer is a sport that is fine letting games end in a draw. This happens in leagues all over the world. There isn’t a strict reason to keep the players on the field in order to break the tie. Other sports don’t generally allow this, no matter the stakes of the game.

In soccer, the games only go to extra time if there is something on the line, like a knockout stage of a tournament. If the game’s full-time elapses and the game is tied, extra time periods will be added if necessary.

If you’re playing or watching a game, those two additional 15-minute portions will be called extra time. These periods of extra time are, technically speaking, not included in the full-time period of a soccer game. They’re, well, extra. The clock works the same way in extra time, which is to say that it never stops. Add the end of the extra time periods, stoppage time is added on.

Technicalities

While extra time periods are technically a separate part of the game, many people understand “full time” in soccer as the entirety of time until the final whistle is blown by the referee. This may also be further confused if fans look at soccer scores and see them listed as “FT.”

It would be easy to think that full time meant the whole game from the beginning to whenever the end of the game occurs. However, if you look through soccer notation, you’ll notice that sometimes, there are the letters “ET” or “AET” beside the score.

This is used to indicate that the game surpassed full time and went into extra time. The acronym AET stands for the score “after extra time.”

If the game continues past those extra time periods, the notation changes again. Take this example from the 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy: 0–0 (a.e.t.) (3–2 p)

This shows that the score of the game was 0-0 after extra time, and that the game concluded by Brazil winning in a penalty shoot-out three goals to two.

Full Time in Betting

Those who want to put money into the game should also have an understanding of the true meaning of full-time. If you place a bet about a score at full-time, you need to factor in the stoppage time. 

In that case, it wouldn’t matter what the score was at the end of 90 minutes. Instead, your bet would be won or lost at the end of stoppage time. In the 2021-22 season, champions Manchester City scored nine goals in second-half injury time.

Those minutes can make a huge difference to the outcome, so make sure you understand the terms of your bet.

Conclusion

In practice, full time refers to the 90 minutes plus any stoppage time. Extra time periods are sometimes added if the game can’t end in a draw, such as in the knockout rounds of a tournament. If you see the notation FT next to a soccer score, that means that the score displayed is finalized. 

Some notations, especially in larger tournaments, will feature the notation ET or AET (extra time or after extra time) to indicate that the game went on into those extra periods, which technically happen outside of full time. However, many fans will refer to “full time” as the entire duration of the game, no matter if extra time or penalty shoot-outs take place.

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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