How long are premier league games ? How long is a football match? It is 90 minutes, right? Well, we all know it’s not, yet we never really acknowledge it.
Every single time we watch a game of football we sit through minutes of injury-time at the end of each half, yet we still just reference 90 minutes.
The World Cup in Qatar saw some incredibly long matches, as referees chief Pierluigi Collina opted to clamp down on time-wasting.
That saw the average match length at the World Cup, excluding extra-time, jump to 100 minutes 23 seconds. It felt like a lot, but how does it compare to the Premier League?
How long is an average Premier League match?
According to Opta data at the time of writing, the average Premier League match in the 2022/23 season lasts 98 minutes and seven seconds.
That may surprise many as it means there is not much difference between the Premier League and the 2022 World Cup in terms of match length.
Indeed, the statistics show that the Premier League have some of the longest matches across Europe’s top divisions.
How long is the ball in play in the Premier League?
A key reason behind Collina’s clampdown was a belief that fans pay to watch 90 minutes yet get short-changed by time-wasting.
He explained: “As a spectator, I pay a ticket, physically at the stadium, or at home by TV, to see 90 minutes of football, but I only see 44, 45, 46 played.
“Half the price of my ticket goes into unplayed time. Most of the wasted time comes with throw-ins or goal kicks.”
So, how long is the ball in play in the Premier League and how does that compare to other European leagues?
Premier League fans get to see, on average, 54 minutes and 49 seconds of football per match, which works out at just under 56% of the total average match time.
How Long Do Football Games Usually Last?
Whilst there is a time limit set of 90 minutes (made up of two halves of 45 minutes), matches rarely stick to this duration. In fact, a football game usually lasts at least a few minutes longer than the allotted time of 90 minutes. As we will explore, when it comes to football matches, timings are not always the same.
There are many more factors that play into the duration of football matches, including (but not limited to) whether or not there are injuries, referee decisions, penalty kicks, and the age of the players on each team.
If you’ve ever wondered the answer to the question: “How long is a football game in the UK?”, we’re here to explain how long a match is and what factors would cause the length of the game to differ.
How Long is a Football Match in the UK?
According to the official Laws of the Game, a football match should last 90 minutes (two equal halves of 45 minutes) with an additional half-time interval of 15 minutes. And, according to these laws, an additional 30 minutes could be played in special circumstances. And, a game can be shorter than 90 minutes if agreed beforehand between each team and the referees. 
Why is a Football Game 90 Minutes?
We can thank the UK for determining that the length of a football match should be 90 minutes. During one of the first matches between London and Sheffield, there was a clash between the two teams regarding the duration of the game. Eventually, each team decided to make a rule that games should be 90 minutes. Once the 90-minute rule was set, it became one of the game’s basic rules that leagues from all over the world adopted.
Despite these official laws, the average length of a football match is longer than the period of 90 minutes. In fact, it’s rare that the halves of a football match will only last 45 minutes. Certain factors such as the number of breaks that a team has, injuries, celebrations, could cause extra time to be added to the halves and make the duration of the game longer than two hours.
It’s almost inevitable that a match will last longer than 90 minutes. Without any unforeseen breaks in the game, if each team uses their allotted three substitutions (which is 30 seconds per player), an additional 3 minutes of extra time is added to the end of either of the halves.
The amount of extra time is ultimately decided by the referee, however, during the game an official will hold up a digital board to tell spectators the minimum amount of extra time that will be tacked on to the end of the game.
How Long is a World Cup Football game?
A World Cup football match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes. The halftime break typically lasts for about 15 minutes. In total, a FIFA World Cup group game will last for about one and a half hours, plus stoppage time*. Knockout World Cup games can, of course go into extra time (15 minutes each half) after which if no team is leading the game is decided by a penalty shootout.
Stoppage time varies from game to game and from World Cup to World Cup as we will discover below.
Qatar 2022 World Cup Stoppage Times
How long does a World Cup game last? Was the exasperated cry of the school teachers who generously allowed their classes of kids to watch England’s first 2022 World Cup match. Teachers were not the only ones surprised after 27 minutes and 4 seconds (a World Cup record for stoppage time) was added to the 90 minutes of normal time.
The England Iran game wasn’t an outlier; Over the course of the group stage an average of just under 12 minutes were added to each game. Before 2022, World Cup games lasted about as long as any other international matches, but the Qatar World Cup was different, so we decided to have a deep dive into the data.
Football World Cup 2022: Data Study of Added Time (Stoppage Time)
As you can see in the table below, the ‘Added time’ (total) and ‘Goals’ (total) of every Qatar 2022 World Cup group game have been collated.
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