What Is Stoppage Time In Soccer

Stoppage time is the key part of a soccer game. If you have ever been in a stadium and watched your favorite team play, you might be expecting stoppage time, and when the referee indicates the fourth official for the stoppage time, this expectation changes into anxiety. The referee gives the stoppage time depending upon some issues.

A game can be interrupted for several factors. These factors lead to stoppage time. So, if you want to have a better idea of “What Is Stoppage Time In Soccer,” we encourage you to go through the following article.

What Is Stoppage Time:

Stoppage time is the amount of time given by the fourth official by the indication of a referee to compensate the time loss in a match. The longer the time will lose in a match, the more time the referee will give as stoppage time. Time is lost in a match for various reasons like- drinks or medical issues, injuries, offsides, fouls, corners, substitutions, goal celebrations, etc.

The referee’s clock never stops. The referee and his assistants simply track the time lost in the match and then adds all the lost time at the end of the match. The referee can also give no stoppage time to play, but it’s a very rare case.

Law #7 of the International Football Associations Board’s “Laws of the Game” states that the amount of stoppage time to be added completely depends on the discretion of the referee. This law deals with how long a match to be played and gives necessary guidelines to referees about the calculation of stoppage time.

Factors Affecting the Length of Stoppage Time:

The length of stoppage time depends on various factors: 

  • Substitutions
  • Assessment or removal of players injured.
  • VAR checks and decision-making.
  • Time wasting by the players
  • Disciplinary sanctions
  • Drinks or Medical issue
  • Goal celebrations

These are the main reasons for which a soccer game doesn’t end in 90minutes.

The additional time is added by the fourth official by the indication of a referee. The referee adds the amount of stoppage time according to his wish. If a team gets a penalty during a stoppage-time or any other factors that affect the length of stoppage time that comes into play, then it may exceed the stoppage time given by the referee.

History of the Stoppage Time:

The stoppage time was introduced back in 1891 after a competitive match between Aston Villa Football Club and Stoke City Football Club. During that game, Stoke City F.C was trailing by one goal in the last minute. Suddenly, the players of Aston Villa F.C made a foul inside the d-box area, and the referee awarded a penalty kick to Stoke City F.C. The players and crowds were very happy and cheering for their team. The goalkeeper of Aston Villa F.C knew about the ending time and kicked the ball out of the field. By the time the ball came, the referee had to blow his whistle and end the game.

This story introduced the stoppage time. This stoppage time has created an immense effect in the soccer world. Now, it is not possible to end a game suddenly in an exciting situation. Each half is ended by the whistle of the referee. The referee adds about 1-5 minutes of stoppage time on average after each half. 

If the time lost in a match is less, about 1-2 minutes are added as stoppage time. But, if more time is lost due to injury, substitutions, etc., about 3-5 minutes are added as stoppage time by the referee.

The game doesn’t end suddenly in an exciting situation. If a team is attacking the opponent and the stoppage time finishes, the referee allows some more time to finish the game. When a ball is cleared, the referee blows his whistle and ends the game.

How Stoppage Time is Determined by The Referee?:

A stoppage-time is usually added after each 45-minutes by the referee’s choice. The referee wears a watch in his hand, having different modes and buttons. With the help of this watch, a referee is able to keep track of the lost amount of time and adds it after each half. Usually, before the end of each half, the referee indicates to the fourth official how much stoppage time should be added. Then an electronic board is raised by the official to let the players and fans know about the stoppage time added.

Generally, the referees use the stop-watch-based method to track the amount of time lost during each half of the match. It becomes a bit tough for the referees to track while performing their official duties.

Many referees set their approach of determining the amount of stoppage time based on the type of stoppage.

For each substitution occurring in a match, the referee is likely to give 30seconds of stoppage time. If more players are substituted, the amount of stoppage time increases.

For each foul, a specific amount of time is added by the referee. The referees usually add 5-10 seconds stoppage time for this type of stoppage.

If a player is injured and if it is more serious and from the moment the physio or trainer comes on the field to observe the injured player, the fourth official and the referee will monitor the duration of their stay on the pitch. The more time they stay, the more stoppage time will be added by the referee according to his choice.

The professional players often try to waste time by making fouls and clearing the balls away. This is a way to prevent the opposing team from having a comeback. The referee also adds time for this.

Many players take a lot of time to celebrate a goal. For each goal celebration, the referee adds 30seconds, but this may increase if the scoring team takes much time.

The time lost because of free kicks, corner kicks, goal kicks are not added in stoppage time, but surely they eat up more time than the previously mentioned stoppages. 

But ultimately, the amount of stoppage time that should be added after each half is the decision of the referee. The method which is used to tack the stoppages does not matter; the final decision is the referees.

When the stoppage time is running, there is a chance of time lost also. In this short period when the game is about to finish, the players eagerly and intentionally will try to waste time. If the referee understands that, the referee may add some more time. The referee’s whistle is the thing that ends the game.

Longest Stoppage Time Ever Added In Soccer!

The longest stoppage time ever is 28minutes in 2019, in a Carabao Cup match between Burton Albion and Bournemouth. The world saw the longest stoppage time in that match.

In that match, the floodlight suddenly turned off and did that several times due to power shortage. The match had to stop due to this for several minutes. The official wanted to end the game if the light goes off one more time. But then the electricity held still, and the match came to an end with an exciting 28 minutes of stoppage time.


Stoppage time can have a great effect on a competitive and exciting game, and it can be tricky sometimes. The ultimate decision to blow the whistle and end a game is given by the referee. Depending upon the situation of the match, the referee can add more time with the stoppage time too. 

So, if someone asks you, What Is Stoppage Time In Soccer? The simple answer would be that a stoppage-time is an added time given by the referee to make up the time lost during each half of the match due to various factors and issues.

On average, the referee gives about 1-5 minutes of stoppage time. But, if the factors that are responsible for stoppage time comes into play during stoppage time, the referee may add some more time to finish the game.