The entire concept of added on time has irritated fans for years, so it does make you wonder if something needs to be done when it comes to creating some proper consistency in the game.
We’ve seen situations where far too much added time is found when a game is dead and buried, but the worst thing is always seeing the standard three minutes being given at the end of the game regardless of what’s gone down in the second half.
The added time is then spent with the winning team spending as long as they can on the floor or pretending that they’ve fundamentally forgotten how to walk or take a throw in so it quickly descends into farce.
The controversy surrounding added time this afternoon was actually due to the referee blowing up too early at half time between Man United and Liverpool.
Sadio Mane was through on goal and there were still a few seconds left of the one additional minute, but Paul Tierney blew for half time and you could see from Thiago’s reaction that he wasn’t happy about it at all:
Pictures from Sky Sports
It’s one of these situations where Tierney hasn’t done anything wrong according to the laws of the game but it will cause some controversy, so we got the views of former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett in an attempt to clear this up.
He confirms that it’s an area of the game that isn’t completely clear and it’s caused some issues in the past, while he does think Tierney should’ve waited a few seconds longer to see how that attack was going to turn out:
“The laws of the game are clear – the referee acts as the timekeeper and they are responsible for the amount of added time and when to start and stop the game.
“We saw an incident many years ago when FIFA international referee Clive Thomas blew his whistle moments before Zico scored a winner for Brazil against Sweden.
“There was a huge uproar as a result of that, and unfortunately that one decision put an end to his international career.
“With Liverpool on the attack and with a clear run at goal Paul Tierney blew the whistle for half time. What he did is supported by law, but since that incident with Clive Thomas referees are coached to end the game when the ball is in a neutral position.
“I would’ve hoped that he would put a little more thought into that moment when he’s deciding to bring the half to a close.”
This illustrates the problem that referees have because he’s not done anything wrong, but he’s also going to come under some criticism for that moment because of what happens in other games.
Hackett went on to add that he would like to see the introduction of an independent timekeeper in football to prevent moments like this.
Studies have shown that the ball is only in play for a total of 65 minutes in the average game so we can’t see a situation where games are extended for 30-40 minutes to make up for this, but perhaps it might make sense to reach a consistent standard for added on time.
We often hear about adding 30 seconds for each goal and substitution, while the independent timekeeper can keep a record of further incidents like injuries of timewasting that prevent the ball being in play.
Perhaps it could even make sense to stop the clock in the final minutes of a game every time the ball isn’t in play, but that would result in a fundamental change to the laws so it would need to be properly tested before it was fully rolled out.
As always all we really want is consistency in the game to prevent as much controversy as possible, so that moment at the end of the first half today has brought the issue of added time back into focus.