How long is a football game? Reasons for Injury/Added time

How long is a football game UK?

How long is a football game? is a common question. The answer is not as simple as a specific number, as injury time or added time can impact the overall length of a game. In this article, ASC Football will answer that question and explore the reasons for injury/added time. Keep scrolling to learn more about this game!

The history of football

the history of football

Here is a summary of football history according to historical milestones, so you can have a good understanding of this sport:

  • Ancient Games: Various versions of ball games were played in ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Mesoamericans.
  • Medieval Football: Popular in England and France, where villages would compete against each other with few rules, often leading to violence.
  • Codification: In the 19th century, attempts were made to create standardized rules for football, with the most famous being the Cambridge Rules of 1863, which became the basis for modern football.
  • International Matches: The first international football match was played in 1872 between England and Scotland, with other countries soon following.
  • Professionalization: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, football became more organized and began to pay players, leading to the formation of professional leagues.
  • World Cup: The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, and has since become the most prestigious football tournament in the world.
  • Television Era: In the 1950s and 1960s, television broadcasting brought football to a wider audience, leading to increased popularity and revenue.
  • European Club Competitions: The UEFA Champions League and Europa League were established in the 1950s and 70s respectively, becoming the most prestigious club competitions in Europe.
  • Expansion: Football continued to expand globally, with new professional leagues being formed in countries around the world.
  • Modern Era: The modern era of football is characterized by increasing commercialization, globalization, and the dominance of a few powerful clubs and leagues, such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga.

How long is a football game UK?

How long is a football game UK?

Football match duration is important for ensuring fairness and consistency in the sport. By having a set duration for each game, regardless of external factors such as weather or injury stoppages, each team has an equal opportunity to showcase their skills and compete to the best of their abilities. Read on to learn more about it!

Regulation of match time

By competition regulations, a match’s two halves of 45 minutes may only be shortened with the referee’s consent and the consent of both teams before the match.

Besides, players are allowed a break at halftime that lasts no longer than 15 minutes, and during the halftime of additional time, they are also allowed a brief drink break that lasts no longer than one minute. The length of the half-time break must be specified in the competition regulations, and it may only be changed with the referee’s approval.

Also, the referee makes an allowance for all playing time missed in each half due to:

  • Substitutions
  • Assessment and/or removal of injured players
  • Wasting time
  • Disciplinary sanctions
  • Medical stoppages are permitted by competition rules.
  • Delays relating to VAR checks and reviews
  • Any additional reason, including any prolonged wait before a restart 

In those cases, the fourth official announces the amount of time that must be added, as determined by the umpire, after the final minute of each half. The judge may extend the extra time but not shorten it.

But the duration of the second half cannot be altered by the referee to make up for a timing error during the first half.

Factors that influence actual playing time

We will learn about the factors that influence actual playing time shortly!

Injury Time

Injury time, also known as stoppage time, is an important aspect of football that can have a significant impact on the actual playing time of a match. Injury time is added by the referee at the end of each half to account for any time lost due to injuries, substitutions, or other interruptions during the game. 

injury time

The amount of injury time added can vary from match to match, depending on the number of stoppages that occur. This can mean that the actual playing time of a match can exceed the standard 90 minutes, making injury time a crucial factor in determining the outcome of a game. 

Players and coaches must be aware of injury time and use it to their advantage, whether to preserve a lead or mount a comeback. Ultimately, injury time adds to the drama and unpredictability of football, making it a thrilling sport to watch and play.

Extra Time

In some competitions, if the result is tied after 90 minutes, extra time may be played and consists of two additional 15-minute halves.

The goals that are tallied during the extra time are counted toward the total. Then, if the score is still tied, there will be a penalty shootout. 

If no winner emerges after extra time, Instead of being included in the final score of the game, penalty kicks are used to determine which team advances to the next round of the tournament.


After extra time, if the result remains tied, the match will proceed to a penalty shootout. Usually, each player will attempt a shot from a particular location in turn.

The goalkeeper is the only defender during each team’s time to shoot. The team with the most goals scored after a predetermined number of tries is the winner. The shootout will go on a “goal-for-goal” premise if the score is still tied.

The squad that scores a goal that is unmatched by its opponent wins in this situation. The teams will shoot alternately. Some players might need to take additional shots until the tie is broken if every player has already taken a shot.

“Sudden death” is the name for this phenomenon. One team is eliminated from the game as soon as they miss a shot, while the other team succeeds.

Two-Legged Ties

football game

In some events, every team will face every other team twice. The combined total from the two games determines the winner in what is known as two-legged ties.

The “away goals rule” is used to decide which team wins if the score is a draw. This implies a comparison of each team’s goals tallied away from home.

The game will enter overtime if the findings of the calculation are still equal. After an additional time, if there is still a tie, the match will proceed to a penalty shootout. Replaying a drawn game may occasionally be necessary, but this is incredibly uncommon.

Children’s football

While all senior football, including men’s and women’s, must last 90 minutes, the regulations are different for kids and teenagers.

This is due to some factors, the chief among which is the physical maturation and growth of children’s bodies. The length of time a child participates in a game, the number of players, and the size of the pitch all vary based on age. Less is required of them to play as they get younger. It is determined that as they age and physically develop, their bodies can handle an increasing amount of work.

Fergie Time

In English sports, the phrase “Fergie time” is used. To give a team more time to tie the score or win the game, an excessive amount of time is allotted after a game.

The expression is named for Manchester United’s former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and the belief that too much time would be added to games when United was losing for them to achieve an equalizer or win.

The reason behind injury/added time

The Reasoning Behind Injury/Added Time

Injury time doesn’t have a set duration in the Rules of the Game, but it’s interesting to note that there is a more specific reason why the idea of it was even first introduced. The 1891 English Football League match between Aston Villa and Stoke City was played with Villa having a 2-1 advantage.

With only seconds left in the game, Stoke City was awarded a penalty, but a Villa player knocked the ball out of the ground before it could be converted. The match had already ended by the time it was found, and the referee blew the full-time whistle. Later on, in the same campaign, it was determined that extra time could be added if a penalty was necessary.


How is American football different from English football?

The length of each game and how the games are divided are completely different. Aside from the fact that the first is performed with the feet and the second with the hands. Besides, a normal UK football match lasts at least 90 minutes, whereas an NFL match can last for several hours.

What is stoppage time in soccer?

It is any extra time over the allotted 90 minutes that results from unplanned pauses in play. Even when a soccer match is stopped for fouls, free kicks, injuries, bookings, or substitutions, the time will continue to tick up.

Why is the half-time break 15 minutes long?

The half-time break in a football match is typically 15 minutes long, which allows players time to rest, rehydrate, and receive instructions from coaches. The length of the break has been standardized to ensure consistency across matches and give players enough time to recover without unduly delaying the game.


Above is our answer to the question: How long is a football game? While the standard length of a football game is 90 minutes, the actual duration can be affected by many factors. By understanding them, players and fans can better appreciate the nuances of the game and enjoy the excitement and unpredictability that come with it. For more information about the football game, visit ASC Football!

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About John L Patterson 45 Articles
I am John L. Patterson, a sports fanatics from UK. Since childhood, I have participated in many large and small football competitions and clubs. My growing love for sports allows me to pursue a BA in Journalism and Communication from University of East London. With over 5 years of experience in sports news, I am currently the Senior Editor of the website

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