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Infantino backs IFAB moves to stop time-wasting



LONDON :Matches spanning 100 minutes could become commonplace with FIFA president Gianni Infantino calling for more accurate calculations regarding added time to be implemented in competitions around the world.

Speaking at the International Football Association Board (IFAB) annual meeting in London on Saturday, Infantino said last year’s FIFA World Cup where 10 minutes of stoppage time became a normal occurrence had shown the way.

“It has been widely appreciated by everyone. We want to fight against time-wasting, we want the fans to enjoy the game,” Infantino told an IFAB news conference.

“We have to ensure that also the application of the laws of the game are universal. We will monitor leagues all over the world to ensure proper stoppage time is played.”

Raising the amount of time the ball is in play has become a priority for soccer’s rules body IFAB.

Statistics supplied by Opta in 2021 showed that English Premier League matches were seeing ‘actual playing time’ of well under 60 minutes.

In contrast, the France-Australia match at the World Cup featured 67 minutes of ball-in-play time.

Delegates at the meeting included English FA chief executive Mark Bullingham whose organisation clashed with FIFA at the World Cup in Qatar over the English team’s wish to support the One Love campaign and the wearing of a rainbow armband.

England captain Harry Kane had intended to wear the armband but the FA backed down over FIFA threats that he could be disciplined if he did. Other nations also backed the cause.

The issue was again discussed on Saturday with Bullingham saying he was confident the situation could be resolved before the FIFA Women’s World Cup that starts in July.

Infantino, who gave an impassioned speech on the eve of the World Cup defending Qatar over criticism of its human rights record, said he wanted ‘dialogue with everyone involved’.

“What I can say on this issue is I think we all went through a learning process there,” he said.

“What we will try to do better this time is to search and look for dialogue with everyone involved – the captains, the federations, the players generally, FIFA – from all over the world to capture the different sensitivities.”

IFAB also confirmed the extension of a trial to broadcast VAR decisions to fans inside stadiums and on television.

The trial was introduced at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco last year and will continue at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May to June 2023.

VAR decisions often take several minutes to be decided, leaving players and fans in limbo and unsure of exactly what methodology is being applied by officials.

A decision will then be made as to whether the trial will be continued at other FIFA tournaments later this year.

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