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Time For A Change

The great timewasting debate

For many years I have been advocating a 60 minute stop clock in the Premier League.

This would ensure that we’d always see 60 minutes of the ball in play on the pitch.

Obviously this could be extended beyond the Premier League and used across the whole of football

Newly introduced rules to the Premier League has seen a four-minute increase in average ball-in-play time this season after a 10-year-low figure last season.

The rule changes look at increasing the amount of time the ball is in play by looking at the exact time lost when certain game events [goals and celebrations, substitutions, injuries, red cards, etc.] occur rather than a nominal amount of time [usually 30 seconds] added on. It was felt there was a genuine need to do something to increase the tempo of the game.

Last season saw the most average game [98.27] time but the least average ball-in-play time [54.52] of any Premier League season in the last 10 years.

Teams were spending at least a minute [on average] celebrating a goal last season, with Crystal Palace spending almost a minute and a half [85 seconds].

The last World Cup saw the officiating teams adding unprecedented amounts of injury time in the games.

And quite right too say I!!!

An official timekeeper would stop the game clock – a clock which would be openly displayed to the crowd and TV audience – whenever the ball goes out of play for a throw-in, corner, goal kick or goal, and would only restart the clock when the ball is thrown or kicked back into play.

Similarly, stop the clock whenever the referee blows his whistle for a free-kick or penalty, or when a substitution is being made, then only restart it when the ball is once more thrown or kicked into play.

The only input which the referee would have would be if he felt a goalkeeper, or any player for that matter were deliberately wasting time while the ball was in play. This would be an automatic yellow card, as it is already, but (say) 30 seconds would be added on to the game clock.

I believe this would all but eliminate timewasting as it would be costly and counterproductive.

In many years championing the cause – probably since NFL was first shown on CH4 in the early 80s – I have never heard a valid reason for it not to be tried.

The old argument used to be that games would last three hours etc. etc. but stats now available, which weren’t at the time, show that this is nonsense. The only feeble excuse I’ve ever heard is that it would distort over 100 years of footballing records. Would it really!?

In any event, to the majority of fans – I’m not one of them BTW – records seemingly only began when the Premier League started.

Virtually the whole of football-related social medial, unusually, sings from the same hymn book in suggesting that the "toxic 6" are favourably treated in this respect, with Fergie-time now replaced by Klopp-time and can it be a pure co-incidence that they seem to score disproportionately more goals in the added time.

If nothing else, a publicly visible stop clock would put an end to all such conspiracy theories.

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