How long is the average football game? June 27, 2023 – Posted in: Featured Articles – Tags:

Football games typically last for how long?

Even though 90 minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves, is the stipulated time limit, games rarely stay within it. In actuality, a football game typically goes over the permitted 90 minutes by at least a few minutes. We’ll examine how timings for football games aren’t always consistent.

Football games can last for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) injuries, decisions made by the referee, penalties, and the ages of the players on each team. We’re here to explain how long a match is and what circumstances could influence the length of the game to differ if you’ve ever wondered: “How long is a football game in the UK?”

In the UK, how long is a football game?

The official Laws of the Game provide that a football game shall run 90 minutes (two equal halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute half-time break). These laws also allow for the possibility of playing an additional 30 minutes under specific conditions. Additionally, if both teams and the officials agree beforehand, a game may last less time than 90 minutes.

What justifies a 90-Minute Football Game?

We should be grateful to the UK for deciding that a football game should last 90 minutes. A disagreement over the length of the game occurred during one of the inaugural games between London and Sheffield. At some point, it was agreed upon by both teams that games should last 90 minutes. The 90-minute regulation was established, and leagues from all over the world recognized it as one of the fundamental guidelines for the game.

Despite these official regulations, a football game typically lasts longer than 90 minutes. In reality, it’s unusual for football games to feature 45-minute halves. The number of breaks each side takes, injuries and celebrations are just a few examples of the things that could extend the game’s duration above two hours.

A game lasting longer than 90 minutes is practically a given. Without any unplanned breaks in play, if each team makes three replacements (each taking 30 seconds per player), the game will end with 3 minutes extra at the end of either half.

The referee ultimately decides how much extra time will be added to the game, although an official will hold up a digital board during play to inform fans of the minimum length that will be added.

A World Cup football game lasts how long?

A World Cup football game is divided into two 45-minute halves. Usually, the halftime break is followed by a 15-minute break. A FIFA World Cup group match will run approximately one and a half hours altogether, including stoppage time. Of course, knockout World Cup games are allowed to go into extra time (15 minutes in each half), and if neither team is ahead at that point, a penalty shootout is used to settle the match.

*As we will see below, stoppage time varies from World Cup to World Cup and from match to match. 

World Cup stoppage times during the 2022 Qatar edition

A World Cup game lasts how long? That was the frustrated scream of the school teachers who kindly let their students watch England’s opening 2022 World Cup game. After 27 minutes and 4 seconds (a World Cup record for stoppage time) were added to the 90 minutes of regular time, teachers weren’t the only ones who were taken aback.

The England-Iran game was not an exception; during the group stage, each game saw an average time increase of a little under 12 minutes. Prior to 2022, World Cup games lasted about as long as other international matches, but because the Qatar World Cup was unique, we wanted to dig further into the statistics.

World Cup 2022 Added Time Data Analysis
  • Over 6 additional matches’ worth of time, or slightly under 563 additional minutes, were played.
  • The increased time was generally under 12 minutes.
  • More than 60% of games went longer than 100 minutes.
  • The England vs. Iran game on November 21 had the most added time (27.04).
  • England vs. the USA on November 25 had the least amount of extra time (5.53).
  • The first six games of the 2022 World Cup featured an average game time of 106 minutes and 12 seconds (compared to 97 minutes and 12 seconds for the 2018 World Cup).
  • In general, more goals resulted in more stoppage time, following the FIFA rule (see below).
  • As the competition continued, the length of added time decreased.
Why the World Cup games in Qatar took up so much extra time
  • “Unnatural lost time” had to be added to the 90 minutes, according to the new FIFA rule.
  • Pierluigi Collina, possibly the most well-known name in refereeing, made the following remarks in an interview with ESPN. He is currently the head of the FIFA referees committee.
  • “In Russia [2018], we already improved the calculation of the time to be rewarded[…]
  • We must be prepared to see this kind of additional time provided if you want more active time.
  • Imagine a game where three goals were scored. When three goals are scored, you lose five or six minutes because celebrations often last one to one and a half minutes.
  • We must compute time and add it on at the conclusion of each half if we want to preserve the game’s reputation. Matches, when the ball is only in play for 43, 44, or 45 minutes, are not what we desire. We have to make sure that both teams get equal time.

We discovered from the data that as the competition progressed, the trend in extra time decreased. As with most of the significant FIFA pre-tournament instructions, officials began to implement the advice less strictly. The statistics (see trendline) indicate that this led to a gradually decreasing amount of extra time.

‘Ball in Play’ Debate

The FIFA guideline on stoppage time reflects a controversy that has been raging in sports for many years. Whatever you want to call it—ball in play time, game time, active time—the majority of fans would concur that it needs to be sorted. More penalties for players who waste time are suggested, as well as a 60-minute “stop-clock” modeled after the NFL.

Every measure would lengthen the amount of time that participants are actually playing, which would increase the amount of time they are being challenged. It’s not unexpected that some managers have claimed that it shouldn’t be the players’ responsibility to improve the situation, further increasing the number of games they are required to play, given the crowded fixture calendar in some leagues (particularly the Premier League).

Is Fergie Time a thing?

The term “Fergie Time” in English football is named for Sir Alex Ferguson, the late manager of Manchester United. When a team needs an inordinate amount of time to tie or win the game at the end of the game, that time is referred to as “Fergie time.”

This expression originated from the belief that Manchester United would frequently win games they weren’t winning in the final minute or two of the game. It’s still unclear whether Fergie Time genuinely exists.

How long is Football Game Intermission? (Injury Period)

Delays occur regularly during football games, whether coaches opt to make a substitute or injuries necessitate players being removed from the field. These are only a few examples of unintended delays that can occur during games, but there are a few situations when teams purposefully waste time.

You’ve probably seen instances where players purposefully kill time in the final 15 minutes of games when they have a slight lead. This typical strategy is known as “running the clock.” Although referees attempt to limit the amount of time that players and coaches squander during a game by indicating that they are aware that teams are wasting time, it is nearly impossible to completely prevent it because the rules permit it.

The game is temporarily stopped and the ball is not in play during these delays, but the timer is still running. The referee is required under the regulations to record the duration of each delay. The time lost due to these delays is not added to the game’s overall playing time; rather, it is added to the end of the appropriate one of the two halves. These extra minutes are known as “stoppage time” or “injury time.”

The length of the game will often increase by one to four minutes due to stoppages or injury time. The final say on how many minutes are added at the end of each half belongs to the referees. The second half of a game typically features longer halftime breaks as teams play more aggressively and commit more fouls, goals, and celebrations.

Average Football Game Time FAQs

1) What justifies 90 minutes of football?

Football games typically last 90 minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves. In 1866, amid a conflict between London and Sheffield, this time frame was established. Both teams decided to play for 90 minutes in order to solve the problem. Since then, everyone in the world abides by this time frame.

2) How long does an American football game last?

Sixty minutes

The length of an NFL game is over 60 minutes. The following four 15-minute quarters make up the remaining 60 minutes. The game goes into overtime to decide the winner if both teams are tied after 60 minutes, though.

3) Why are there eight extra minutes in football?

In sports, extra time is allotted for rest periods because of injuries, substitutions, etc. Halftime is a 45-minute break in the middle of a 90-minute football game. And when the game clock reaches 45 or 90 minutes, extra time is added.

4) How long is a British football match?

In accordance with competition rules, a match’s two equal halves of 45 minutes may only be shortened with the referee’s consent and the consent of both teams prior to the contest.