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Football Should Introduce 60-Minute Matches With A Stop-Clock, Says Former Referee Mark Clattenburg

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Football Should Introduce 60-Minute Matches With A Stop-Clock, Says Former Referee Mark Clattenburg

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg believes football should introduce 60-minute matches with a stop-clock in a bid to stop time-wasting.

The 47-year-old, who has officiated a number of big events in his career, including the 2016 Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final, feels this is a conversation our sport "should" be having.

In his column for the Daily Mail this week, Clattenburg brings up the controversial time-wasting antics at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night during Real Madrid's dramatic win over Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final.

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Many pointed out that there should have been more than three minutes added time and rather controversially, the whistle was blown 10 seconds early at full-time by referee Daniele Orsato.

Clattenburg feels there is a way to stop these time-wasting antics.

"I think there's a solution to all of this and that's 60-minute matches with a stop-clock - an idea which Pierluigi Collina, FIFA and IFAB are currently looking at," he says.

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"It works in basketball and it could work in football, too The clock is paused when the ball goes out of play, for example, or there's an injury causing a delay, or a referee is issuing a yellow card and dishing out a talking-to.

"That way, every game would last the same length and we'd get rid of this controversy."

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

Clattenburg goes on to deliver some eye-opening stats from the 2021/22 campaign in England's top flight.

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"In the Premier League this season, the average time of the ball being in play has been 55 minutes, three seconds," he added.

"The shortest was West Ham versus Brentford - 41 minutes, 33 seconds - whereas the longest was Manchester City against Burnley - 65 minutes, 42 seconds. 

"That's a big difference but the 60-minute clock would stop that and guarantee paying punters that they at least get to see an hour of football on the pitch."

As mentioned in his column, former referee Pierluigi Collina, who is part of the International Football Association Board, which oversees the rules in football, has previously discussed this topic of debate.

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"One of the things we are talking about is whether it is not worthwhile for all matches to have the same duration," he said while speaking to Calciatori Brutti via Football Italia.

“If you look at the statistics today you see that there are teams that play 52 minutes, others that play 43 minutes and others that play 58 minutes. If you add up all these times in a league the difference becomes big.

“Another thing to think about is: I as a spectator pay a ticket, physically at the stadium, or at home on PPV, to see 90 minutes of football but I see 44, 45, 46 played. Half the price of my ticket goes into unplayed time. Most of the wasted time comes with throw-ins or goal kicks."

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy
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Collina added: “These things are functional to the game, but eight to nine minutes for throw-ins, eight to nine minutes for goal-kicks… Precisely to overcome the unspectacular nature of certain things in a match a few years ago, the goalkeeper was prevented from picking up the ball passed voluntarily by a teammate.

“How spectacular is it to see a goalkeeper with a ball in his hand? The initial reaction is ‘football will never be the same again’. "Today, however, it is obvious that it is much more fun. So we are doing some thinking.

“Today, what is accepted as good actual playing time is around an hour, around 60 minutes. That’s the dividing line between games that last a bit shorter and others that last as long as 66-67-68 minutes. It also depends on the players.

“We, as referees, as FIFA, also for the next World Cup, we will give the indication to be careful to recover lost time, which are not dives but goals. If three goals are scored in one half, the average celebration is one and a half minutes each, that’s five minutes of celebration, which nobody remembers, but it’s five minutes less played.

“If we’re going to be a bit more precise we’ll have to prepare ourselves for a nine-minute injury time, today nine minutes is eye-popping, but give those who want to see a spectacle the chance to see a bit more.”

Featured Image Credit: BT Sport

Topics: Mark Clattenburg, Premier League, Champions League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A

Jack Kenmare
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