Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

Stoppage Time in Soccer: A Closer Look

Stoppage Time

In soccer, stoppage time, also known as extra time or injury time, plays a crucial role at the end of each half. While the game consists of 45 minutes per half, stoppage time adds to the excitement and unpredictability. Let’s dive into the details of stoppage time and understand its significance.

What is Stoppage Time in Soccer?

Stoppage time occurs twice during a game – at the end of the first and second half. The head referee determines the additional minutes to be added to the clock. Play continues until roughly that time, usually between two to five minutes.

Why Is There No Exact Time Shown?

Although a number is displayed at the end of each half, there is no exact time for players to play until. This allows for a final push towards scoring a goal. Referees let the action unfold until the ball switches sides, as it takes time for attacks to develop on a large soccer field.

How Do Referees Determine Stoppage Time in Soccer?

Soccer Referee

Determining stoppage time may sometimes seem arbitrary, but referees take various factors into consideration. Player removal, including substitutions or injuries, requires time for players to leave the field. Disciplinary actions such as yellow or red cards also contribute to additional time. Delays due to technology, like VAR reviews, are considered as well. Additionally, if a team intentionally wastes time, it can influence the amount of added time.

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The Shortest and Longest Amount of Stoppage Time

  • Shortest: 1 minute
  • Longest: 15+ minutes

While anecdotal stories mention stoppage time exceeding 15 minutes in lower leagues, at the professional level, it rarely surpasses 10 minutes. The longest recorded stoppage time in the English Premier League is 12 minutes and 58 seconds during the Arsenal vs. West Ham United match in 2013. On the other hand, even when it may not seem like there have been many interruptions, the shortest stoppage time is usually at least one minute. Actions like throw-ins and corners also take time.

The Importance of Stoppage Time

CR7 Free Kick

Adding just a few minutes to each half might not appear significant, but stoppage time can be a crucial part of a match. Teams strategically utilize this time to either secure a win or salvage a draw. Proper execution during stoppage time has led to more than 10% of all goals scored. This small portion of the match demonstrates the chaos and excitement that accompanies late-game situations.

Why No Perfect Solution Exists

Some may argue that stoppage time lacks precision, but finding the perfect solution is challenging. Striving for absolute precision could limit scoring opportunities during a late push. Referees aim to ensure fairness for both teams, and stoppage time effectively addresses time delays.


Q: How many minutes are typically added as stoppage time?
A: Referees usually add two to five minutes as stoppage time at the end of each half.

Q: Can stoppage time vary in different leagues?
A: Yes, the duration of stoppage time can differ depending on the league and level of play.

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Q: Is stoppage time only added at the end of the match?
A: Stoppage time is added at the end of each half, not just at the end of the match.


Stoppage time in soccer adds an element of suspense, allowing teams to make a final push towards victory or a comeback. While it may not be an exact science, understanding the factors considered by referees provides insight into this exciting aspect of the game. Stay tuned to Movin993 for more soccer-related updates.

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