How Long Do Football Games Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 90 Minutes

Football is an immensely popular game around the world. The craze for football stars like Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar only adds to its ever-growing popularity. There is an increasing zeal to know more about the game. This article analyses exactly how long does a football match lasts and the reasons that prompt such a long time.

As you must be aware, Football is a team sport. It is played between two rival teams each with 11 players. Rules for international competition are laid by the ‘International Federation Of Association Football’ (FIFA). FIFA also conducts men’s and women’s world cups every four years.

The UEFA Champions League and La Liga are some of the most celebrated football leagues in the world. Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are some other popular men’s leagues in Europe.

How Long Do Football Games Last?

First Half45 Minutes
Break15 Minutes
Second Half45 Minutes

The time frame of a football game is usually similar to Hockey. A football match typically takes about 90 minutes or an hour and a half to finish. It is usually divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. A football game can be well described in the phrase “it’s a game of two halves”.

The two 45 minute halves are intersected by a 15-minute relaxing period. This cooling-down break is required as the players cannot play non-stop for 90 minutes. The break helps to have drinks, use washrooms or just relax.

Although generally football games are played in 90 minutes, this duration may be shortened in the case of children. This reduced time period substitutes for the lack of agility and stamina in youngsters.

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In addition to the standard time, injury time/stoppage time is added at the end of each half of a game. This helps to compensate for the loss in time owing to player injuries, stoppages or general time waste.

It may sometimes happen, that at the end of the game, both football teams have an equal score. In such cases, the two teams have to play half an hour more. They will have to go for two 15 minute halves, separated by a one-minute drink break.

But, if the scores tally even after the two halves, both the teams have to go for penalty shootouts. The team winning the penalty shootouts shall win the game. These extra time periods do increase the basic playing time.

Why Does It Take This Long For A Football Match?

The decision to play the football game for 90 minutes is not out of blue. There has been a long history behind the setting of an ideal time frame for a football game.

Football has a deep connection with the north of England. Some researchers estimate it to be the cradle of Football. There were different football associations that were tasked with formulating their own rules and regulations. Each had its own set of codes and time durations.

In 1866, two geat associations of Sheffield and London were up against each other. Since both the associations followed different formats of play, it became necessary to standardize the gaming format. The authorities reached a compromise and decided at 90 minutes. This was equally divided at 45 minutes of two halves. In addition to this, there would be a cooling-off period of 15 minutes between the two halves.

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Having been standardized, these football gaming time rules have been followed everywhere in the world. Although there have been significant additions and corrections to the football-playing rules, the timing framework has been mostly been unchanged.

Additionally, the game may require more time if there the referee feels so. The referee usually does that if there are stoppages or injuries in the game. The time is also increased in case of penalties or when both the teams have the same number of goals.

In summary, a football match requires one and a half hours. But adding the break and extra time can take up a minimum of two hours. It is common to have additional penalty or injury time apart from the 90 minutes of the game. Apart from them, the age also may be extended by ties, when both teams score equally.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1260/174795408787186512
  2. https://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=22478051&AN=126443079&h=hZ8TY2La%2fyhT02VFTystmn9AMzDDK4GRAXm2RZnugOThW%2ftp03oOJcR%2fUDijOxPEsrkdOVKbQfMDI7gJ0PyERg%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d22478051%26AN%3d126443079