World Cup fans see more active play from stoppages directive

Nov 30, 2022, 2:18 AM | Updated: 4:20 pm
The referee assistant shows 8 minutes overtime during the World Cup group C soccer match between Ar...

The referee assistant shows 8 minutes overtime during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Adding more time at the end of World Cup games to compensate for stoppages has raised the average active playing time to 59 minutes, FIFA’s head of refereeing said Wednesday.

Pierluigi Collina said FIFA was “quite happy (with) the result” of games routinely extending from the 90 minutes of regulation to more than 100 in total.

The ball is now actively in play for 55 to 67 minutes, the Italian official said.

Active playing time was as little as 52 minutes for some games at the 2018 World Cup when video review of referees’ decisions debuted and some reviews took more than two minutes.

“People are here to watch matches and be entertained,” Collina said in an interview filmed and distributed by FIFA. “It’s like to attend a concert — you are happy and ask for an encore of the singer.”

FIFA’s directive to referees was a surprise trend early in the tournament in Qatar with more time clearly added to take account of goal celebrations.

“It takes quite long to celebrate a goal and for opponents it’s less opportunity to play,’ said Collina, who worked at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups when referees routinely added about four extra minutes in total to games.

FIFA also wanted referees to add at least one minute for an injury delay and 30 seconds for each pause to make a substitution.

The averaged added time was more than 10 minutes after half of the 64 games were played through Monday, which is the first World Cup letting teams make five substitutions.

The average has also been skewed, Collina said, by the second game of the tournament when England beat Iran 6-2. More than 27 minutes were added because of injures including a concussion sustained by the Iranian goalkeeper, a video review to award a penalty and eight goals scored.

In 2018 in Russia, stoppage time averaged 6½ minutes which would likely have risen by an extra minute if five substitutions had been allowed, he suggested.

“It is not that dramatic a change as could have been perceived after the match Iran-England which was at the very beginning of the competition,” Collina said, “so maybe created some feeling that things were going in a direction which it is not.”


AP World Cup coverage: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James appears to tear up after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to bec...
Associated Press

LeBron sets NBA career scoring mark in Lakers’ loss to OKC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James became the NBA’s career scoring leader on a stepback jumper late in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record during his 38-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. James surpassed the mark held since April 1984 by Abdul-Jabbar, who […]
23 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tosses powder in the air prior to the team's NBA basketball...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: LeBron James’ run to the NBA scoring record

Associated Press photographers have captured LeBron James for the entirety of his 20-year career, starting from when he was an 18-year-old rookie to now as a 38-year-old who just became the most prolific scorer in NBA history. That covers both his stints in Cleveland, his two championships in Miami, the third title when he returned […]
23 hours ago
DELETES REFERENCE TO SHOT SETTING THE SCORING RECORD - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, lef...
Associated Press

Reaction to LeBron becoming the NBA’s career scoring leader

Reaction from social media and elsewhere poured in after LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. ___ “To be in a position to break one of the all-time records of most points ever scored, it’s quite remarkable. I think it’s such a testament to him. And he’s not just sort […]
23 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, poses with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after passing Abdul-J...
Associated Press

Scoring King: James passes Abdul-Jabbar for NBA points mark

LeBron James got the first official statistic of his NBA career on a rebound. His next entry on the stat sheet was an assist. Even then, points weren’t the priority. They never were. Somehow, he became the most prolific scorer in NBA history anyway. It finally happened Tuesday night, the kid from Akron, Ohio, connecting […]
23 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is surrounded by cameras after scoring to pass Kareem Abdul...
Associated Press

LeBron James makes NBA history on a star-filled night in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James has been thriving under formidable pressure for his entire adult life. An arena packed with celebrities, his entire family and thousands of raucous Lakers fans demanding to see a slice of NBA history was nothing the King couldn’t handle. James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career scoring record Tuesday night […]
23 hours ago
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., right, pulls in the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves cente...
Associated Press

Jokic posts triple-double by halftime, Nuggets rout Wolves

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic may not always dazzle with his athleticism. He sure does with his numbers. Jokic posted his 19th triple-double of the season by halftime and the Denver Nuggets rode a 49-point first quarter to a 146-112 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Jokic finished with 20 points, 16 assists […]
23 hours ago
World Cup fans see more active play from stoppages directive