Daily Mail

Payday for time-wasters


FOOTBALL clubs face paying out additional appearance bonuses due to the increasing stoppage time being played in matches.

The amount of stoppage time has exploded this season after the Premier League implemente­d new protocols first used at the World Cup last year, when FIFA instructed referees to clamp down on time-wasting.

On Monday night, 21 minutes of stoppage time were added to Chelsea’s chaotic 4-1 win at Tottenham. Eric Dier — who was introduced by Spurs after 34 minutes — ended up playing for 77.

And Mail Sport has learned that agents are holding talks with clubs with a view to ensuring their clients profit because they are spending more minutes on the pitch.

Bonuses for substitute appearance­s are common in contracts, with such clauses entitling players to extra money for spending a stipulated amount of time on the pitch. The clauses usually guarantee additional payments to players if they enter the field at a certain time.

However, talent agencies are proposing changing the wording of such bonuses in relation to ‘minutes played’.

The amount of stoppage time played in all Premier League games this season has increased to an average of 11 minutes and 35 seconds per game from 08:27 minutes last campaign.

Top-flight players also want referees to provide in-game guidance about the amount of stoppage time set to be added during matches amid concerns about the greater risk of injury caused by longer games. Currently, players are only made aware of the amount of time to be added on when the fourth official raises their board towards the end of each half.

Many stars feel this makes it hard for them to manage their workload. The issue has been flagged to the PFA by representa­tives at several clubs, though it has yet to be raised with refereeing body PGMOL.

Coincident­ally, PFA chief executive Maheta Molango and chair Omar Beckles had a meeting with PGMOL boss Howard Webb last week to discuss other refereeing issues.

Kevin De Bruyne and Virgil van Dijk are among many leading players who have complained about being forced to play longer matches this season, with the Manchester City midfielder saying that the changes don’t ‘make any sense’.

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