In turn, Ligue 1 is entering the era of extended matches

The fourth referee indicates eight minutes of additional time, during the World Cup final between Argentina and France, at the Lusail stadium (Qatar), on December 18, 2022.

Good counts make good friends. If the 2023-2024 Ligue 1 season, which began Friday August 11 with the meeting between Nice and Lille, will be shortened – due to the page from twenty to eighteen clubs – the matches will stretch. Because once the ninety regulatory minutes have been played, the games should continue with extended additional time.

During the Men’s World Cup in Qatar, the novelty caused a stir: matches continued twelve, ten, even fourteen minutes after the end of regulation time. Some months later, the Women’s World Cup – still in progress in Australia and New Zealand – extended, in turn, the parties. And the measure is gradually spreading at the initiative of the International Football Federation (FIFA): the boss of the referees, Pierluigi Collina, warned before the 2022 World Cup that “times for substitutions, penalties, celebrations, medical treatment or, of course, VAR [istance vidéo à l’arbitrage]will have to be compensated”.

During the Community Shield, a match between the English champions, Manchester City, and their runner-up, Arsenal, on Sunday August 6, the Gunners equalized eleven minutes beyond regulation time in a match that will have ped the one hundred wall ( 105 minutes). What provoke the ire of Pep Guardiola, the coach of the Citizens, probably accentuated by the defeat of his own: “The matches will last a hundred minutes but we are never asked for our opinion”scolded the Catalan technician.

Manchester United’s French defender Raphaël Varane shares this dissatisfaction. In a long message posted on his account X (formerly Twitter), the 2018 world champion is worried about the consequences on the physical and mental health of the players, already overstretched by a heavy schedule and believes that “These changes hurt [au] sport “.

Actual playing time as a comp

In turn, Ligue 1 will change. The French refereeing director, Antony Gautier, confirmed it on Friday August 4 in an interview with Agence-France-Presse: the French championship will follow the trend of the extension of the “money time” to compensate for the slightest stoppage in play.

The fatigue accumulated by these extra minutes is the main questioning of the French formations, which will have to adapt in a championship already famous for its physical side. The first guinea pigs of this instruction were the Lille and the Nice, Friday. “I don’t know who will be standing at the end”, anticipated the new coach of the Aiglons, Francesco Farioli, expecting a physical challenge of unprecedented magnitude – he who wishes to set up spectacular football and therefore rich in effort for his players. An identical philosophy drives his northern counterpart, Paulo Fonseca. The Lille coach, if he did not comment on the merits or not of this extended additional time, warned that the season could become tiring for his Mastiffs. “If we qualify for the Europa League Conference, we will have an additional competition in addition to an intense championship…”

If many football players are questioning themselves, the football authorities have not hesitated and put football fans in the spotlight. “If spectators are asked to pay for tickets or subscriptions to watch ninety minutes of football and a match lasts fifty minutes, there is something that needs to be reviewed”argued Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, in 2022, calling on the International Football ociation Board (IFAB), guarantor of the laws of the game. With the actual playing time as a comp – the duration of a match without the cuts linked to fouls, ball outs, substitutions or celebrations – the IFAB has included this year in its rules the recovery of time lost during the celebration of a goal.

“We take away a particularity of this sport”

Of the ninety minutes that a match lasts, the ball is only really in play for about an hour, according to several studies by the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES). On the side of the referees, we defend this future extension of the meetings. “Everything will be linked to the events of the meeting”, said Antony Gautier. For the former international referee, “the objective will be to promote ever more the game and the spectacle”.


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In recent seasons, the concern to guarantee matches with the longest possible effective playing time has increased considerably. For Loïc Ravenel, researcher at CIES, this evolution is that of a “football that supports the void less and less”. And to add that the extension of additional time is far from trivial because it will change part of the essence of football: “We take away a particularity of this sport: the waste of time which mainly benefited the small teams. »

It remains to be seen how to harmonize the time added to the game because if rules have been enacted for certain phases of the game – goals or substitutions –, they remain unclear on others – faults or ball outings. “We’re going to come to a point where we’ll realize that the easiest way is to stop the clock every time out”concludes the researcher – like what is done for basketball games.

The players in the French championship will now have to adapt to this new reality. Some, like Alexandre Lacazette, should even find their way there. The Lyon striker scored fourteen goals in Ligue 1 beyond the 90e minute, which makes him the most decisive player in the championship in added time in the XXIe century. Extending the playing time should give him more opportunities to increase this stat.

Baptist Leduc

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