FIFA Football IFAB Marco van Basten

IFAB radical proposals include shortening football matches from 90 minutes to 60

June 19, 2017

Football matches could be reduced to two halves of 30 minutes as part of a radical set of proposals announced by the International Football Association Board.

IFAB, the law-makers of the game, this week published their ‘Play Fair!’ strategy paper in conjunction with FIFA which aims to reduce negative aspects of the game.

“The aim of this document is to generate discussion and take a fresh look at how the Laws could make the game better”, the IFAB paper said.

The argument behind the time reduction is to try and limit time-wasting by players, by having 60-minutes of full play with time being stopped every time the ball goes out of play.

The strategy also includes proposals to let players dribble or pass to themselves from a free-kick or corner, play stopping if a penalty kick is saved or missed, and a Tennis style tie-break system for penalty shootouts where the first kicker alternates.

Any changes are years away from possible implementation, with discussions taking place over the coming year before the 2018 IFAB annual general meeting in March.

There, the body will decide which proposals should be trialled in competitive matches to see if they work.

Speaking about FIFA’s involvement in the ‘Play Fair!’ strategy, chief technical development officer Marco van Basten said the initiative aims to ensure fairness while keeping football “attractive”.

“The ‘play fair!’ initiative is a plan for football,” said Van Basten. “This strategy aims to promote fairness and integrity, ensure the game is accessible to everyone and optimise the use of technology.

“Since its approval, FIFA and The IFAB have elaborated on the first stage of discussions and trials, which focus on improving player behaviour and increasing respect, increasing playing time and increasing fairness and keeping the game attractive.”

By Christian Radnedge

FIFA Football IFAB Marco van Basten