Monday, 22 Jul 2024

How Long Is Halftime in Soccer (And What Is Its Purpose)?

Every week, soccer coaches dedicate hours to preparing their teams for matches. They work on strategies, tactics, and physical conditioning. However, once the game starts, the coach’s influence is limited. They can shout instructions from the sidelines, but the halftime break is their only real chance to communicate with their team.

Halftime is a crucial part of any soccer game, from the Premier League to youth soccer. It serves multiple purposes and plays a significant role in the overall flow of the match. In this article, we will explore the length of halftime, its purpose, and what happens during this crucial break.

What Is The Purpose Of Halftime In Soccer?

A standard soccer match lasts 90 minutes, with additional time added for stoppages during the game. Professional players run more than 10 kilometers during a match, making halftime essential for them to catch their breath, relax, hydrate, and prepare for the second half.

Without this break, maintaining the required level of performance throughout the entire game would be challenging. Additionally, halftime allows coaches to make tactical adjustments, changes in formation, and communicate their plans to the team.

While halftime was not initially mentioned in the original Laws of the Game, it has become an integral part of soccer. Its roots can be traced back to the early days of the sport when different schools played with their own rules. Halftime allowed both teams to play half the match using their preferred set of rules.

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What Happens At Halftime?

Halftime is a crucial opportunity for players to recover physically and mentally. They use this break to catch their breath, rest, and hydrate. Energy drinks and gels are consumed to refuel for the second half. It is also an opportunity for medical staff to provide treatment if needed.

Coaches and assistants take advantage of halftime to provide tactical instructions, make adjustments to the team’s formation, and discuss any planned substitutions. Players discuss their performance, share feedback, and reflect on the first half.

Off the pitch, halftime allows fans to stretch their legs, purchase refreshments, and enjoy halftime entertainment. Advertisers take advantage of this break to showcase their products through commercial breaks. These breaks are highly sought after and can be expensive.

When Is Halftime In Soccer?

Halftime always occurs at the 45-minute mark, exactly halfway through the 90-minute game. However, additional time is added at the end of each half to account for stoppages during the game. The length of additional time depends on various factors, such as injuries and time-wasting by teams.

Since the 2023/24 Premier League season, officials have started calculating stoppage time more accurately to prevent time wasting and increase the time the ball is in play. While this has resulted in longer stoppage time periods initially, it is expected to reduce as players and coaches adapt to the change.

How Long Is Halftime In Soccer?

According to the FA’s official Laws of the Game, players are entitled to a halftime interval not exceeding 15 minutes. The duration of the halftime break can be altered with the referee’s permission, but most teams take the full 15-minute break.

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Teams have the option to return to the field earlier than the allotted time, especially if they are losing and the coach wants a quick reaction in the second half. However, the standard practice is to take the full break.

Is Halftime Always The Same Length Of Time?

While halftime is typically around 15 minutes long, there can be some slight variations depending on factors such as when players are ready to resume the game. It is crucial not to extend halftime too much to avoid potential physical problems for players.

It’s important to note that additional time added at the end of the first half does not cut into the halftime break. The break is essential for players to recover and refuel, and it should not be reduced.

Halftime In Extra Time

In knockout rounds of competitions like the World Cup, Champions League, and FA Cup, extra time is played if the teams are level at the end of 90 minutes. During this extra time, players are allowed a short drinks break (not exceeding one minute) between the two 15-minute halves.

Given that matches in these stages can go on for over two hours, this short break provides players with an opportunity to rest and hydrate before continuing the game.

A Game Of Two Halves

Halftime is a crucial element of soccer, and it can significantly impact the outcome of a match. It offers a chance for teams to regroup, make adjustments, and come back stronger in the second half. The phrase “a game of two halves” highlights how a match can completely turn around following the halftime break.

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Notable comebacks and memorable moments have occurred in the second half of games, demonstrating the influence of halftime on soccer matches. It’s a key part of the sport, allowing teams to reset and strive for victory.


Q: How long is halftime in soccer?

A: Halftime in soccer typically lasts for 15 minutes, as stated in the FA’s official Laws of the Game. However, teams can return to the field before the full allotted time if they choose to do so.

Q: What happens during halftime in soccer?

A: Halftime provides an opportunity for players to rest, hydrate, and receive tactical instructions from their coaches. It’s also a chance for medical staff to attend to any injuries or strains. Off the pitch, fans can stretch their legs, purchase refreshments, and enjoy halftime entertainment.


Halftime in soccer is a critical part of the game that allows players to rest, refuel, and receive tactical instructions from their coaches. It helps maintain the required standard of play throughout the match and provides an opportunity for teams to regroup and make adjustments. The length of halftime is typically 15 minutes, and it occurs at the 45-minute mark of the 90-minute game. Halftime is a game-changing period that can determine the outcome of a match, making it an essential element of soccer.