Time-wasting may be cut if late swops banned

LONDON • Substitutions during stoppage time could be banned under measures being considered by football's lawmakers to increase the amount of actual playing time during matches.

In a quarter of English Premier League games, substitutions are being made after the 90 minutes are up, and some members of the International Football Association Board (Ifab) believe that in almost every case, it is a time-wasting tactic.

Another measure under consideration by Ifab is that any player who is substituted has to leave the field via the closest touchline rather than walk across the pitch to the technical area.

Trials for this move are already taking place in junior tournaments.

The proposals will be discussed at Ifab's advisory panels next month in preparation for the annual meeting in March.

"Looking at ways to cut down on time-wasting, speed up the game and increase playing time is one of our priorities," said one member of the Ifab board.

"A rule to say there should be no substitutions during added-on time is an interesting one and could work well. Referees add on 30 seconds for a substitution but, in practice, it can eat up a lot more time than that. There would, however, need to be trials to see if there are any unforeseen ramifications."

Substitutions after 90 minutes have taken place in 24.3 per cent of Premier League matches since the start of last season, up three percentage points since 2011-12.

Ifab is also looking at permitting goal kicks to be passed to players in their own penalty area to allow quick play, and for referees not to insist that the ball is still at a free kick.

The organisation is made up of the four British home associations - which have one vote each - and Fifa, which has four votes. Law changes require at least six votes.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'Time-wasting may be cut if late swops banned'. Print Edition | Subscribe