In the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, referees add extra time to matches. Lots of it.


Brazilian referee Rafael Klaus gestures during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday. Klaus added 29 minutes of injury time to the game – part of a growing trend in this tournament.

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Brazilian referee Rafael Klaus gestures during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday. Klaus added 29 minutes of injury time to the game – part of a growing trend in this tournament.

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DOHA, Qatar – Something different happened in the 2022 World Cup. Teams play longer. much longer period.

A typical soccer game is 90 minutes of regulation with two halves of 45 minutes each. Unlike in basketball or soccer, the referee keeps time on the court and can add downtime such as injuries, substitutions, and celebrations after goals.

In past World Cups, the referee may intervene for three or four minutes to a half. But this World Cup is different. During Monday’s match between England and Iran, the referee added 15 minutes to the first half (largely due to an injury to the Iranian goalkeeper) and then another 14 minutes to the second half.

The Netherlands-Senegal match had an extra 11 minutes in the second half, according to the official match statistics. And in the USA-Wales match, the referee added 11 minutes at the end of the match. Argentina and Saudi Arabia played 14 minutes after regulation ended in the second half.

There is a reason for these changes. FIFA, football’s international governing body, wants to ensure that every minute of the competition is played out on the pitch and not lost due to delays.

“The World Cup is the most important tournament on earth,” Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, told a news conference in Doha.


FIFA’s Head of Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina, addresses a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha on Friday, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.

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FIFA’s Head of Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina, addresses a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha on Friday, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.

Anne-Christine Pugolat/AFP via Getty Images

He said that the 129 match officials who participated in 64 World Cup matches received a simple message: “We have recommended to our referees that they be very precise in calculating the time that will be added at the end of each half to make up for time lost due to a certain type of incident.”

This includes, Collina said, adding time to treat injuries, substitutions, penalty kicks, red cards, and especially long celebrations after goals.

“Imagine there are two goals and three goals scored in the first half. So it’s easy to lose three, four or five minutes, just to celebrate a goal. This time has to be taken into account and made up at the end.”

Colina said they did the same thing in Russia four years ago at the last World Cup. But the downtime added in Qatar so far is really more – resulting in games going on longer and excitement all the way to the end.

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