Qatar World Cup 2022: Football fans divided after FIFA clamps down on time-wasting, added time

Football fans are divided on whether FIFA’s concerted effort to clamp down on time-wasting has improved Qatar World Cup spectacle, with record amounts of added time making games considerably longer than usual.

The opening five matches of the tournament collectively tallied 85 minutes of added time, with England’s match against Iran lasting 117 minutes and 16 seconds — 14 minutes was added to the first half alone.

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Eight goals, 11 substitutions, and a sickening head injury to Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand partly contributed to the drastic extension, while England completed 730 passes during the group stage match — the second most in any World Cup fixture that did not include extra time.

According to Opta, the five halves with the most stoppage time in a World Cup match since records began in 1966 have all occurred in Qatar this week.

Mehdi Taremi’s penalty for Iran against England came with 102:30 on the clock, making it the latest World Cup goal on record, excluding game with extra time.

Injuries, video assistant referee decisions, substitutions, penalties and red cards have all contributed to the trend, but footballers have all been accused of deliberately delaying restarts in order to wind down the clock.

Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee, confirmed that fourth officials had been instructed to keep track of time lost during the tournament.

“The purpose is to offer more show to those watching the World Cup,” he told reporters last week, BBC reports.

“In Russia, we tried to be more accurate in compensating for time lost during games and that’s why you saw six, seven or even eight minutes added on.

“Think about it — if you have three goals in a half, you’ll probably lose four or five minutes in total to celebrations and the restart.”

Meanwhile, World Cup referee Danny Makkelie also warned there would be longer halves ahead of the tournament.

“This is one of the topics we have spoken about,” he told The Sun.

“It will not be strange to see six, seven, eight minutes of extra time. We did this in Russia and everybody was positive.”

Some fans have praised FIFA’s attempts to clamp down on time-wasting, while others have argued it has resulted in unnecessarily long games.

Meanwhile, Australia has suffered a 4-1 loss to reigning champions France in its World Cup opener at Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday morning AEDT.

Things looked promising in the opening 10 minutes after the Socceroos kicked the first goal of the match, but it was all one-way traffic from that point onwards.

The Socceroos’ failure to push up the pitch and put pressure on France was widely criticised by commentators after the game.

Australia sat back and allowed the star-studded French attack to run at them — the three-goal defeat could have easily become an embarrassing scoreline if France had finished off some other golden opportunities.

The Socceroos will next face Tunisia at the same venue at 9pm AEDT on Saturday evening.

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