Soccer should introduce 60-minute stopwatch games, says former referee Mark Clattenburg - New Style Motorsport

Former Premier League referee clattenburg mark believes that football should introduce 60-minute games with a stopwatch to avoid wasting time.

The 47-year-old, who has refereed several major events in his career, including the 2016 Champions League final and the 2016 European Championship final, feels this is a conversation our sport “should” have.

Many pointed out that there should have been more than three minutes of added time and, rather controversially, referee Daniele Orsato blew the whistle 10 seconds before regulation time.

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

“I think there is a solution to all this and that is 60-minute stopwatch matches, an idea that Pierluigi Collina, FIFA and the IFAB are currently looking at,” he says.

“It works in basketball and it could work in soccer too. The clock stops when the ball is 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 chatter- for.

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

Image Credit: Pennsylvania
Image Credit: Pennsylvania

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

“In the Premier League this season, the average ball-in-play time has been 55 minutes, three seconds,” he added.

“The shortest was West Ham against Brentford – 41 minutes, 33 seconds – while 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 can at least watch an hour of football on the pitch.”

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

“One of the things we’re talking about is whether it’s not worth all the matches being the same length,” he said while speaking to Calciatori Brutti via Football Italia.

“If you look at today’s statistics 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: as a spectator I pay a ticket, physically in the stadium, or at home on PPV, to watch 90 minutes of football but I see 44, 45, 46 played. Half of my ticket price goes towards unplayed time. Most of the lost time comes with throw-ins or goal kicks.”

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Collina added: “These things are functional for the game, but eight to nine minutes for throw-ins, eight to nine minutes for goal kicks… Precisely to overcome the lack of spectacularity of certain things in a match a few years ago years, the goalkeeper was prevented from collecting the ball voluntarily passed 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’. “Today, though, it’s obviously a lot more fun. So we’re doing some thinking.”

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

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

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

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