August 31 – The controversial new stoppage-time rules adopted by English football this season, primarily to counter time wasting, are “absurd” and will not be used in UEFA competitions, according to the organisation’s chief of football, Zvonimir Boban.
England’s refereeing body the PGMOL is following FIFA’s approach at the men’s and women’s World Cups, with time added on for goal celebrations, substitutions and injuries.
The aim is to increase the time the ball is in play, with games now routinely going beyond 100 minutes in total.
The policy has been backed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who says it gives fans better value for money. But a host of managers and players have criticised the move on health grounds.
“It’s absolutely absurd,” said Boban, who captained Croatia’s famous 1998 World Cup team to a third-place finish
“Regarding player welfare, it’s some kind of small tragedy because [they] are adding almost 12, 13, 14 minutes.
“When you play 60, 65 minutes – I can speak from my experience, especially as a midfielder – when you get tired, it’s the last 30 minutes of the game. And then somebody comes and adds another 15 minutes,” Boban told a briefing on refereeing issues on the eve of the Champions League group-stage draw.
“How often we have spoken critically about the calendar and too many games. We are not listening to players and coaches [about welfare]. It’s crazy! It’s too much, so we will not do this. Our guidelines are different.”
UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti backed Boban’s comments and said UEFA had been working for five years on other solutions to increase the amount of time the ball is in play.
“Why do people like the Champions League so much? Because it’s intensive, it’s fantastic, the players never stop,” he said. “We tell our referees to speed up the restart of play instead of focusing on stoppage time.”
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