EXCLUSIVE: Premier League referees will NOT follow FIFA’s new ultra-strict stoppage-time mantra when domestic football returns… with World Cup games lasting on average four minutes longer than English top-flight matches
The Premier League will ignore FIFA’s new ultra-strict edict on stoppage time when it resumes after the World Cup.
Sportsmail has learned a number of referees have been shocked at the amount of time being added on in Qatar. And they have sought clarification from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited over whether they will be asked to do the same.
FIFA referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina made it clear officials must add all ‘unnatural lost time’ to the end of each half, which has led to unusually long matches.
The World Cup in Qatar has seen some unusually long matches due to stoppage time
It comes after FIFA referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina told refs to add on ‘all unnatural lost time’
England’s win over Iran lasted 117 minutes, while the average match length for the first four days has been 102 minutes and 42 seconds, four minutes longer than the Premier League average this season.
During talks with domestic referees, PGMOL have reassured them they will not be told to follow suit and will instead be asked to encourage players to get on with the game, as well as delaying restarting their watch until play has begun after a break.
The Premier League’s approach will be welcomed by players, who have expressed concern about an increase in injuries and fatigue caused by longer matches. The international players’ union Fifpro are also monitoring the situation.
‘If effective playing time is increased by 10 to 15 per cent, this adds substantially to the time under physical competition for players,’ said Fifpro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann. ‘More than anything it underlines again how critical workload protection is for players. It needs to be established now.’
England’s opening match against Iran stretched to almost two hours after a lengthy stoppage
While FIFA control World Cup refereeing, any changes to the laws globally go through IFAB, made up of four representatives from FIFA and one from each of the four Home Nations.
Last month IFAB rejected plans for an NFL-style system, in which matches are reduced to 60 minutes of effective playing time, with the clock stopped when the ball goes out of play.
A number of Premier League referees have speculated privately that the World Cup officiating is an attempt by FIFA to introduce 60-minute matches by the back door.