Gianni Infantino FIFA president (Insidefoto)
Gianni Infantino FIFA president (Insidefoto)

IFAB, the International Football Association Board, is considering a proposal to reduce a football match to 60 minutes in a bid to prevent time-wasting.

This and several other proposed changes to the rules of the game are outlined in a new strategy document called Play Fair!. It was not too long ago that IFAB also proposed a change in the order how penalty kicks are taken to make it fairer.

In an effort to make fooball more attractive and speed up the game, the proposal seeks to adopt two halves of 30 minutes with the clock stopped when the ball goes out of play.

“Many people are very frustrated that a typical 90-minute match has fewer than 60 minutes of effective (actual) playing time (EPT) i.e. when the ball is in play,” IFAB said in the document.

According to IFAB, says the Play Fair document has three goals – improve player behaviour and increase respect, increase playing time and to increase fairness and attractiveness.

“play fair! is a major milestone – for football”, says IFAB Secretary, Lukas Brud. “With the huge support of FIFA, the confederations and national football associations, we are creating an opportunity to address football’s on-field issues and negativities.”

According to the BBC, former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola is in favour of the proposal to cut matches to 60 minutes.

“I personally like this rule because there are so many teams who try to take advantage of it because they are winning and wasting time – so I think it is not a bad rule,” he told the BBC.

To try to combat time-wasting, match officials should be stricter on the rule which allows keepers to hold the ball for six seconds and be more stringent when calculating additional time.

When should match officials should stop their watch?

  • from a penalty being awarded to the spot-kick being taken
  • from a goal being scored until the match resumes from the kick-off
  • from asking an injured player if he requires treatment to play restarting
  • from the referee showing a yellow or red card to play resuming
  • from the signal of a substitution to play restarting
    from a referee starting to pace a free-kick to when it is taken

“Such a radical change would not only mean that there would be less point in players wasting time, but would also mean that in a competition every club would play exactly the same amount of EPT,” the document read.