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What club football NEEDS to take from the World Cup

football time wasting

It simply has to happen.

The dust has settled on the Qatar World Cup and club football has returned, with a full round-of-16 of Carabao Cup having taken place.

There were some very enjoyable games in this round of fixtures, with Manchester City’s 3-2 win over Liverpool the standout among them.

But there was one thing that stood out during this game, as both halves approached their end – the amount of injury time that was given by the fourth official.

The World Cup in Qatar saw referees and fourth officials make a concerted effort to clamp down on wasted time, meaning most games had a minimum of four minutes injury time per half, with eight or nine minutes of added time feeling normal by the end of the tournament.

Explaining the thinking behind it, Pierluigi Collina said: “A celebration may last one, one and a half minutes, so imagine in a half there are two or three goals scored, so it’s easy to lose three, four, five minutes just for goal celebrations. This time has to be considered and compensated at the end.”

This made games far more exciting, as it meant that teams had no choice but to actually play active football until the final whistle.

Time wasting became a pointless endeavour, as players were well aware that the time would simply be added on at the end of the game.

Premier League time wasting to go unpunished

Unfortunately, this successful experiment at the World Cup has not transitioned into club football.

Take the second-half of City vs Liverpool on Thursday night for example. In the second-half alone, there was three goals (with celebrations that each lasted a minute), nine substitutions, three yellow cards after scuffles and then the usual time that is naturally wasted when the ball goes out for a goal-kick or a free-kick.


There was four minutes of additional time given.

The message from Collina was a strong and simple one – waste time at your peril, as there would be no point in doing so. You won’t benefit from cheating.

The message from the referees and those in charge of football in England is a simple one too – time wasting will not be punished.

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