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Fri. 16 April 2021

How fluid are football matches? A Pan European study

The 64th CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report crunched InStat data to unveil the effective playing time and other indicators regarding the fluidity of matches in 37 European competitions. It notably shows that the fluidity of the game depends on geographical and cultural logics. The proportion of stoppage time due to fouls in comparison to the total length of matches, for example, varies between just over 10% in the Netherlands up to almost 20% in Greece.

The number of fouls and time lost due to them tends to be higher in Southern and Eastern European leagues than in the championships from the North and West of the continent. The Turkish Süper Lig stands out as the competition in which the time taken to restart play after a foul is the longest: about 35” of stoppage time as opposed to 30” for all leagues. It is also in Turkey that referees add the most extra time: almost 9 minutes on average compared to 6’14” for all competitions surveyed.

The average effective playing time is 61%. It goes from 67% in Israel down to 56% in the Spanish Segunda División. The study also reveals the absence of correlation between the effective playing time and the total length of matches. This shows that the level of fluidity in the game is not taken into account by referees when it comes to adding extra time. This could encourage players of teams in difficulty, or having gained an advantage, to disrupt the rhythm of the game, knowing that the stoppage time has not much influence on the number of minutes added.

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