Ex-ref Mark Clattenburg wants football to copy NBA with major rule change

A whopping 24 minutes were added to England’s 6-2 win against Iran at the World Cup after FIFA decided bigger amounts of added time would be used at the tournament in Qatar

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World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 8

World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 8

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Mark Clattenburg believes football games should last for 60 minutes and the clock should be paused when the ball is not in play.

The former Premier League referee has responded to FIFA’s new initiative, which sees large amounts of added time being used at the World Cup in Qatar. For example, a minimum of 24 minutes were added on to England’s 6-2 win against Iran last Monday.

FIFA are trying to stop fans from being short changed, as many football games see fewer than 60 minutes’ worth of action. In August 2017, a Premier League game between Burnley and West Brom saw just 47 minutes and 40 seconds of actual football played.

Despite FIFA’s move, games are still being starved of action. According to Clattenburg, the ball was in play for just 50 minutes and 51 seconds during Qatar’s opening fixture against Ecuador – while the figure for England vs Iran was 55 minutes and 27 seconds.

Clattenburg accepts FIFA’s initiative – labelled as “FIFA Time” – has improved in-play statistics, but he believes the solution to the problem is stopping the clock. That way, punters are guaranteed to get at least 60 minutes’ worth of action in every game.

“Those ‘ball in play’ times are better than the Premier League,” Clattenburg wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “But there’s an easier solution: 60-minute matches with a stop-clock. It works in basketball and it could in football.

It’s not unusual to see large amounts of added time at the Qatar World Cup (

Do you agree with Mark Clattenburg? Let us know in the comments below!

“The clock is paused when the ball goes out of play, or when there’s an injury prompting a stoppage, or when the referee is fixing a fracas. That way, every game would be guaranteed to last the same length – 60 minutes. It’s a conversation our sport should be having, and one that I know FIFA have considered in the past.”

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Clattenburg was one of the Premier League’s most notable referees during his heyday. The 47-year-old ended his 13-year spell in the division in 2017, when he left to succeed Howard Webb as the Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s head of refereeing.

Clattenburg was a FIFA-listed referee for 11 years and officiated several major games. His credits include the Champions League final, FA Cup final, EFL Cup final, men’s Olympics final, Community Shield, European Super Cup and Euro 2016 final.

Pierluigi Collina, who is the chairman of FIFA’s referee committee, confirmed there would be more stoppage time at this World Cup. “What we already did in Russia [2018 World Cup] was to more accurately calculate the time to be compensated,” he told ESPN.

“We told everybody don’t be surprised if they see the fourth official raising the electronic board with a big number on it, six, seven or eight minutes. If you want more active time, we need to be ready to see this kind of additional time given.

“Think of a match with three goals scored. A celebration normally takes one, one-and-a-half minutes, so with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes… What we want to do is accurately calculate the added time at the end of each half.”

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