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Stoppage Time: How Much Is Too Much?
Andy (Rangers) 7 years ago
Following Michael Owen’s dramatic winner in the final minutes of the Manchester Derby on Sunday afternoon, the spotlight has been firmly placed on stoppage time and the official’s role in ending the match.

Awarding stoppage time seems to have become a meter on how ‘lucky’ a team is, with every fan feeling victimised at one point or another.

Managers rant and Rave at the 4th official if the referee jeopardises a good result and fans tend to repeat their manager’s sentiments in the following debate. Post-match interviews see much of the same and are all too often predictable, but I suppose this is expected by both the club and fans.

The truth is, officials favour no particular team and there is no deeply entrenched conspiracy against a particular club. It is an issue that plays into a fan’s victim complex and one that occurs on a weekly basis. Believe me, I’m guilty of this when Rangers play, passion is a strong element within football and emotions are so often exposed.

What a lot of fans/managers tend to forget is that the official awards a minimum stoppage time, taking into account substitutions, injuries and goals/celebrations that take place after the extra time is signalled.

The FIFA ‘Laws of the Game’ are located Here (Adobe, .PDF file) and is concerned with stoppage time on page 96, in particular;

Allowance for time lost
Many stoppages in play are entirely natural (e.G. Throw-ins, goal kicks). An allowance is to be made only when these delays are excessive. The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each period of play. The announcement of the additional time does not indicate the exact amount of time left in the match. The time may be increased if the referee considers it appropriate but never reduced. The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the fi rst half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.’

Does the referee really award a minimum added time?

Does the home team have an advantage?

Or is it unfair to bring the referees decisions into question given how much relies on his own personal judgement?

We here at footytube are great friends with The Guardian but are pokey articles like such, really confirming daft conspiracies? Or overblowing statistics while casually ignoring others? (A good read nonetheless)

A contentious issue riddled with opinions so make yours heard
Seantoon (Newcastle United) 7 years ago
I couldn't help but feel sorry for Manchester City and Mark Hughes when Owen scored that 90+ 6th minute goal :/
Juno (AC Milan) 7 years ago
I don't feel sorry for them though. Since the added time can be further added by the discretion of the referees, its perfectly ok for the match to turn out another goal. Because everything is still under referees' control. Thereafter, if FIFA or UEFA or FA feels that referees shouldn't be given the god-damn right to add anymore time, then we have a controversy
Motto2k2 (Liverpool) 7 years ago
Following the recent win for manchester united. Don't you feel that was an excessive amount of added stoppage time? I do
DiegoFC (Real Madrid) 7 years ago
In my opinion if there are no major injuries anything over 3-4 min is to much
Match (San Jose Earthquakes) 7 years ago
Despite the amount of subs or goals scored? It all just depends
Hamas1993 (Manchester United) 7 years ago
It was spot on except for 1 second do you really expect the ref to whistle in the middle of micheals shot?  
Hanifpeace (Arsenal) 7 years ago
Do you watch football recently or just read the newspaper? There were so many games with extra time more than 5 min. And I have seen a game with 9min of extra time. And hamas1993 totally a genius
[account-removed] 7 years ago
Completely SPOT ON, 55 secs were added for bellamys celebration and then 30 secs were added for the sub, 4 mins originally so easy within the time
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I think the Guardian article you linked to confirmed a lot of suspicions. I'm personally glad someone looked into it, because it's one thing to have a nagging feeling that they are getting preferential treatment, but quite another to see cold statistics supporting the fact.

I've mentioned it elsewhere, but I feel that after 90 minutes of the Manchester derby, if it was more likely that City would score the winner, the referee would have blown immediately on 4 minutes if not slightly before. In fact, the board showing added time would probably have read one or two minutes. Again, just a feeling and in that case there's no way to prove it either way.

United fans will probably consider the Guardian article as a bit of a conspiracy piece, feeling that United get no preferential treatment - but of course they do. Here's why. United were recently announced as being the most lucrative team in the world. They generate more money for more people than any other sports team anywhere on Earth. Having power like that is naturally going to do two things. Firstly, the neutrals will naturally gravitate towards the current best team, hence United have a huge fan base. A lot of the fan base are excellent genuine fans, but a lot would have just chosen United because when they came to choose a team, Uniteds name were top of the league. Stick with me on this one. There's nothing particularly wrong with that - when I was about 8, Liverpool were the masters.

The second thing that having power, a huge income and a huge fan base does is that it makes sure that none of the governing bodies want to annoy you. Imagine for a moment if United got a transfer ban, like Chelsea. Imagine further if they said - fine, no problem, we just won't compete in the domestic cups this year. That would be a huge loss of revenue for those competitions. Now, of course, United wouldn't say that, but having that much power gives you a lot of sway.

Similarly with the fixture list. It was brought up before, but United always seem to get an extra day or two recovery period, for example the Wednesday or Sunday games. We can assume they get these games so they can be the "showpiece" matches, again because of their revenue and fan base. From a business perspective it certainly makes sense to separate out the matches, ensuring a bigger income. However, from the stance of equality, every game should kick off Saturday 3pm.

It's one thing for Ferguson to boast about titles, but if they are won with the support and assistance of the officials and governing bodies, surely they are a hollow victory?

United fans, please post your "Shut up you hater" comments below
Edhokati (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Shut up you hater. Ha ha, just for fun. It may be true, but they did win many titles to reach this level, three years ago, you would not have said that
Hanifpeace (Arsenal) 7 years ago
Get lost you idiot.... People like you never think before talking. You just hate manu 'cause they are better than liv by miles. Whatever the referee do in this game is going to be controversial. According to the rule, the reff should added extratime to the extra time. If he didn't, it would be controversial. And owen goal waas scored 1sec more than the time allowed to be given in the extra time. You expect the ref to blow the whistle at the time when owen shoot the ball into the net? Then it would be controversial also
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
"Get lost you idiot". Have you ever been on the Internet before?
Part of my job as staff here is to read and interact with as many topics as possible.

You might not like my opinion, but I'm fully entitled to it. You say I never think before talking, yet I wrote a long thought-out piece and you made snap judgments on me for it. Sounds like perhaps you're the one that doesn't think before talking
Jeroen (Barcelona) 7 years ago
I fully understand your opinion Ant, and if you would do the effort to browse through the Man Utd chat here on FT, you'd notice I too think that Man Utd has a suspicious record of officials that favoured Man Utd quite often.
But I never liked big conspiracy theories (sorry for using this over-used word, it just seems like the most suitable word in my vocabulary right now) that include corporate big shots, governments etc. It just feels like a script for a new Bourne film. The Bourne Conspiracy. With Michael Gambon as Sir Alex Ferguson and Jackie Chan as Michael Owen.
I prefer to think of it as a natural human reflex: people always choose sides with the one they [subconsciously] think they can benefit most from. Whether it's a popular friend, a hot chick, your boss at work or even one of the biggest football teams. In Belgium the refs also tend to rule in favour of the bigger teams as well, and the football big shots also have a better chance to get a penalty after a dive than a small fry. Perhaps that has more to do with their diving skills, but I think that the refs being impressed with the clubs and players has something to do with it as well. They would no doubt deny that, because they surely don't do that on purpose. It's like I said: they want to side with the popular guys.

Maybe my love for fair play and football blinds me from the truth and makes me naive, but I like to believe I'm right here.

Oh and if you feel like kicking some hanifpeace (what an ironic name) ass, gimme a shout
Tom (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Haha ant that article is b******s and you know it. It says "In 48 games when United were ahead, the average amount of stoppage time was 191. 35 seconds. In 12 matches when United were drawing or losing there was an average of 257. 17sec. " simple answer to that is when United are drawing or losing the other team are doing whatever they can to waste time to get a result against the champions. More time will be added than usual because more time wasting is happening than usual. These numbers are probably similar with all of the big four, but their statistics are for some reason omitted...
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
The complaint that United get favoritism in decisions is surely not a new one, so shouldn't be a shocking revelation to anyone on footytube. Here's a news article from about six months ago exploring why United get so many cheap peanlties given at Trafford.


"Most notably there was an incredible 10 year run – from December 1993 to April 2004 – when not a single penalty was scored against United in a Premier League match at Old Trafford."

I've been watching football a long, long time and have seen players dragged to the ground in Old Trafford with nothing given. Even the commentators usually showed surprise. In the last year or so, it has certainly changed, so it's an old complaint by now.

Here's a few choice snippets from the article;
"A decision so bad that Bolton were later to receive an apology from the referee."
"Despite the infringement clearly happening outside the box, Mike Riley gave a penalty and sent off the Argentina full back."
"Nonetheless, it was the 8th penalty awarded to United by Mike Riley at Old Trafford in as many appearances there."
Tom (Manchester United) 7 years ago
What I hate about this "United get favouritism in decisions" is people ignoring the fact that their team gets favouritism also. Liverpool get help from the ref all the time. It's like a Barcelona fan complaining about Ronaldo diving when they have a squad full of divers. Yes, United do get some horrible decisions to go their way, but you can't forget that Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal do as well
CHELSEA61 ((Footytube Moderator)) 7 years ago
Ironically FIFA rules are on page 96. The same amount of time Man Utd were awarded in the controversial game
DiegoFC (Real Madrid) 7 years ago
Lol that is ironic
Jeroen (Barcelona) 7 years ago
.... Or is it?    *feeds conspiracy theory*    Maybe there's a new Dan Brown novel in this
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 7 years ago
Honestly I don't see the problem with adding time. The argument is that the referee gave united 6 minutes to score a winner and they used that to their advantage. Here's the problem with that argument, both teams were given the exact same amount of time to score a winner. United simply proved the better. Saying that teams win because of the ref's decision to add a certain amount of time is absurd as its like saying that one team should not have won a game since they scored within the traditional 90 minutes. And lets face it, if they were to stop the clock everytime there is a stoppage in play, their would probably be more than 6 minutes per half added on more often than not. Therefore teams are probably given even less time to score than maybe they should be given, but even if they weren't, as I said earlier, both teams were given the exact same amount of time to score
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I agree that extra time is designed to benefit both sides, and have argued that exact case elsewhere on the forums. However there are are two points to note:
* Scoring a goal was hugely more important to United than City. City would have considered the away draw a moral victory, whereas United would have seen it as a humiliation and an assertion that City were in fact their equals, after Ferguson publicly calling them "a small team with a small mentality".
* United had the weight of momentum in the second half and were far more likely to get the goal in added time. Everyone could see that, including Mark Hughes. All he wanted was for the ref to play the four minutes that was agreed on. It's quite rare to see extra time added on to extra time
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
Also, lest we forget, Chelsea had an eye watering extra 15 minutes added on two weeks back, allowing them to win at their leisure
Darius (Southampton) 7 years ago
Ant, you took the words right out of my mouth about Chelsea game. 5 in the first and 8 in second half correct, or vice-versa?
Hanifpeace (Arsenal) 7 years ago
Ant.... You think the reff think about that humiliation and assertion during the game? And mancity scored 2 goals in the 2nd half man.... Why should the reff thought that they couldn, t score in the extra time?
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 7 years ago
Regardless of who had the momentum however, this is football, anything can happen for any team. Not only that but if the ref feels that 7 minutes was taken away from either team, then fairly enough the ref should add 7 minutes
Jeroen (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Well Blue, that's one of the strange things about this case: the extra time was only 4 minutes I believe. But because of some reasons that all hardcore fans of Man Utd (not all of ya, don't worry) claim are completely normal, another extra 2 minutes was added ON TOP of those 4.
Now, I think we can all agree that it IS completely legit, but refs don't usually add extra time to extra time for a sub. If Bellamy did in fact celebrate a minute, than I can understand the ref adds an extra minute. But no ref usually adds a couple of seconds for a substitution made in extra time. So the theory that the Man UTD sub+the minute of celebration adds to a grand total of 5:30 minutes is legit, but it's unrealistic and seems to be very much in favour of United
Dhanasil (Manchester United) 7 years ago
The REf s bang on this time, d total time was 4 min.... D Man UTD sub took 30 sec + bellamys goal celebration took 55sec.... Total 1min 25 sec, the goal was scored in 5:30 min.... So ders s nothing wrong from d ref
Fceddie (Barcelona) 7 years ago
If a sub is made during the extra time and a goal is scored which wastes time it does not effect the extra time. That's why its called extra. Why do you think that coaches make subs during this time, its to waste the extra time that was given. Not cause they need a fresh player on the pitch.

Oh and if it went the other way you would be complaining right now
Match (San Jose Earthquakes) 7 years ago
No adding time in extra time? So in theory, a team could launch balls into the stands, make subs, kick the ball away from the other team on restarts, and the ref would have no right to adjust for time lost? If it went the other way and man city dominated the entire second half, i'd hate to say it but i'd give credit where it's due
Matt (Footytube Staff) 7 years ago
Fceddie I don't think you could be anymore wrong if you read the main thread start you'll see that the extra time held up is an indication and more can be added.

Coaches make subs during this time because a substitution is granted an additional 30 seconds of time added on normally they take a bit longer than this as well as breaking the flow of the game/putting on fresh legs
Hanifpeace (Arsenal) 7 years ago
Fceddie.... Read the rules before start talking man. The reff can added tome in extra time. Not only can but they must added them if there are injuries, goals or subtitutions made during the time. If not.... A player could probably wasting time by acting injured or sumthing. Think about that man...
Fceddie (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Completly agree with the complaint. Refs should allow 30 seconds for sub and maybe an extra minute for extra time wasted. Its rediculous that a goal is scored in the 95 minute after in was only givin a certain time. And then given 2 more minutes of play
Aliko 7 years ago
Tokyoreddevil (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I would definitely support the argument that there were two teams playing in stoppage time and City had just as good a chance of scoring as us, it's just that United proved better at the end. Given my bias I'm sure that's no great suprise!

I've been reading around on this a lot recently and several times I've seen the suggestion, and I think it's an excellant one, of simply stopping the clock everytime there is a break in play. Rugby and the NFL both do this with no adverse effect on the game why can't football? It wouldn't take long to impliment and wouldn't require any vast change in technology or personnel so why not? I'm sure many of you have read same the argument before but I'm just curious what your opinions are
Match (San Jose Earthquakes) 7 years ago
Just give the fourth official a stop watch and a radio to communicate to the referee. He ends up watching the game for free otherwise, or keeping the benches in check. No big deal
Aliko 7 years ago
More added time means more effort from both teams to keep the result as it is or to score another goal.... I think more than 95 min to play is much.... The referees differ from each other. Some of them reduce the time some of them increase it...
Matt (Footytube Staff) 7 years ago
They did a breakdown on motd2 and worked out that the added time should of been 5:26 (4 mins indicated + 56 seconds for the goal + 30 seconds for the sub) and the goal was scored after 5:27 so pretty close.

What a lot of (Man City) Fans are not pointing out is that the game did not stop straight after Owens goal, and why not? Because the referee was being consistent with adding time on for goals scored and celebrations.

As for the conspiracy theory I would like to see a breakdown of all teams. I have a suspicion that the letter of the law when it comes to added time is only applied by refs when they 'think' it will matter I. E. If Man Utd are winning by 3 goals and other team are looking for the baths I don't think ref is gonna' mess around with the indicated time.

This comes across as me being a Man Utd fan and I can only assure you I am not.

Hamas1993 (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Do people forget what happened to Chelsea in the champions league semi-finals its football that's what makes it the number one sport in the world it's competitive and a brilliant game to watch especially when you have one like the Manchester derby to watch
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
Just to drag this one up again from the muddy depths, another Man United legend has spoken his piece on United getting favouratism and extra time if they need it. First Mark Hughes said he knows its been going on for years, now here's Steve Bruce and Eurosports take on the matter

"Steve Bruce has weighed into the great stoppage time debate by claiming - shock horror! - that Manchester United tend to get a minute or two extra when they need a goal.

He said: "The manager has such a way about him that referees know he's watching the clock. With what he has achieved and his standing in the game, it gives him that power to make sure the refs add the time on. "

As the scorer of a legendary header deep into injury time in 1993, Bruce knows full well this has been going on for decades.

While you can understand Manchester City's annoyance at conceding a decisive derby goal in the 96th minute, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched football at any point in the last 15 years. "
Juno (AC Milan) 7 years ago
Still, when the rules are as such that the officials can make their own decisions in adding extra time, then this case there should be no controversy. Unless FIFA changes rules, even if the referees are inconsistent with timekeeping, there can be no complaints. Because if we can't fault the referees for adding time to the game, what is there to discuss?

If Fergie can influence referees, then a thorough checks and investigation should be made to the entire premier league. You'll never know if Fergie is another Luciano Moggi in disguise
Lfcalan (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I honestly believe that the top 4 teams, especially ManUnited and Chelsea, get way too much stoppage time. Evrytime you see Man United play, they seem to be able to get something out of the game in the last 5 minutes. I feel that the Premier League officials are playing more stoppage time for the top 4 teams to spread the excitement of the Premier League. I just feel sorry for the mid-table teams that suffer from letting in a goal in the +6 minutes of added time....
TheArsenals4 (Arsenal) 7 years ago
I do believe that Man UTD gets way to much at old trafford.... When they play away I think it balances out though.... Good point though
Shanki (Manchester United) 7 years ago
That day bcoz of bellamy celebration 2min was added to 4 min. Extra time.  
Franboy (Barcelona) 7 years ago
Is impossible, but if we really want that to be honest. Must play like basketball or futsal. Instead of playing 90 minutes we played 60 minutes (2 times 30 minutes) but time stops at every stop of the game
If an injured if ball outside, so goal mark, time stops.
There would have 60 minutes of actual play.
What do you think?

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