Football News

World Cup added time: Why was there so much stoppage time at Qatar 2022?

By Squawka News

Published: 10:30, 19 December 2022

This year’s World Cup saw a pattern develop: Added time, a whole watch-load of it.

43 of the 62 matches thus far have reached 100 minutes, with England’s opening match against Iran setting the benchmark by lasting a whopping 117 minutes.

The contributors to added time are injuries, VAR decisions, substitutions, penalties and red cards – in addition to any time-wasting antics by the players.

But was there that much more added time at this year’s World Cup?

How much added time has there been at the World Cup?

Average match length
World Cup 2018 98 minutes
Euro 2020 97 minutes
World Cup 2022 102 minutes

By the end of the tournament, the average match length (excluding those that enter extra time) at Qatar stood at 102 minutes; longer than the averages at both Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup.

On average, the half-time whistle was being blown in the 49th minute, with the second half creeping into the 53rd minute. That’s nearly 15 minutes of added time over the course of a match.

This trend might have disrupted the TV schedules, but did provide great value for those looking to place a bet.

Why is there so much added time at the World Cup?

This greater level of stoppage time is a concerted effort on the part of officials.

“In a match there are on average nine minutes wasted on throw-ins,” decorated former referee Pierluigi Collina, who chairs the Fifa referees committee, explained to ESPN before the tournament, adding, “It is almost the same for goal kicks.”

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

“In Russia, we told everybody, ‘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.

World Cup added time

Credit: Sportimage/Alamy Live News

“If you want to have more active time, if we want to compensate for the time lost during matches, 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 will be the fourth official mainly to do that. We were successful in Russia, so we expect to be successful as well [in Qatar].”

Collina also explained that one of the Video Assistant Referees keeps track of time lost to VAR reviews while the fourth official monitors time lost to the more conventional breaks in play (e.g. injuries, arguments, set-piece situations).