60-minute timed football matches offered by former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg


Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg believes he has the solution to complaints about stoppage time and wasted time in football.

In a word

Clattenburg, one of the most respected referees of his generation, advocated the introduction of a stopwatch in football.

The 47-year-old believes that football matches should be reduced to 60 minutes and a stopwatch should be introduced so that time-wasting antics can be stamped out and any ambiguity regarding extra time can be removed.

Clattenburg, who has refereed high-profile games such as the 2016 Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final, argued that his proposal “would ensure paying bettors that they will at least have the chance to see one hour of football on the pitch”.

What was said?

Addressing Real Madrid’s loss of time towards the end of the second leg of the Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday night, as well as complaints from Manchester City fans about the whistle blowing 10 seconds earlier, Clattenburg suggested a radical change in the rules.

“I think there is a solution to all of this and that is 60 minute games with a clock – an idea that Pierluigi Collina, Fifa and Ifab are currently studying. It works in basketball and it could work in football too,” Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail.

Referee Mark Clattenburg during a 2017 Premier League game

“The clock is paused when the ball goes out of play, for example, or there is an injury causing a delay, or a referee issues a yellow card and hands out a talk.

“That way every game would last the same duration and we would get rid of this controversy.”

Facts and figures

So far in the Premier League this season, the average playing time in football is just over 55 minutes, which means that for almost 35 minutes out of 90 the ball is out of play.

The shortest time the ball has been in play in the English top flight this term came when West Ham hosted Brentford 41 minutes, 33 seconds.

Legendary referee Pierluigi Collina, who remains heavily involved in football regulation, recently took up the topic of effective time with Italian publication Calciatori Brutti and hinted at possible changes to the game.

He said: “If you look at the stats today you see that there are teams playing 52 minutes, others playing 43 minutes and others playing 58 minutes. If you add up all those times in a league, the difference becomes great.

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


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