FIFA mulls 60-minute soc­cer game

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS -

Soc­cer’s rule-mak­ing panel wants de­bate on mov­ing to 60-minute games and stop­ping the clock when the ball is not in play. Play­ing two halves each of 30 min­utes’ ac­tual play­ing time would be a “rad­i­cal change” to the Laws of Foot­ball, the FIFA sup­ported In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Board ac­knowl­edged.

It fea­tures in a five-year strat­egy doc­u­ment of talk­ing points and pro­pos­als with three goals — to in­crease re­spect, play­ing time and at­trac­tive­ness of the game.

“The aim of this doc­u­ment is to gen­er­ate dis­cus­sion and take a ‘fresh’ look at how the Laws could make the game bet­ter,” IFAB said in the doc­u­ment called Play Fair! Any changes would take years to en­act.

Fans have be­come frus­trated that games of 90 reg­u­la­tion min­utes plus time added for stop­pages at ref­er­ees’ dis­cre­tion typ­i­cally pro­duce “fewer than 60 min­utes of (ac­tual) play­ing time,” IFAB said.

On Satur­day, there were just 47 min­utes of ac­tual play­ing time in Rus­sia’s 2-0 win over New Zealand to open the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, ac­cord­ing to FIFA.

The 60-minute, stop-start game clock pro­posal would take away the in­cen­tive for time-wast­ing by play­ers, IFAB sug­gested. A sta­dium clock could show spec­ta­tors and TV view­ers when the ref­eree ac­counted for play hav­ing stopped.

A sec­ond idea is for ref­er­ees to stop their watch as play pauses when time-wast­ing is most likely — the fi­nal five min­utes of the first half and the last 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half.

Other pro­pos­als in­clude:

Let­ting play­ers pass to them­selves from a free kick or corner;

Award penalty kicks for de­fend­ers us­ing their hands or arms to stop a goal-bound ball;

Abol­ish en­croach­ment at penalty kicks by or­der­ing play to stop af­ter it is saved or re­bounds from the post or bar;

Pre-match hand­shakes for the two coaches and ref­eree as a sign of re­spect.

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