Football fans spend almost half of every match waiting for action

Substitutions, injury delays and the ball going out of play leave fans twiddling their thumbs for 40 minutes per game.

The average premiership game lasts 96.4 minutes with added time but the ball is only in play for 55.6 minutes, the survey discovered.

It adds up to 40.8 minutes of no actual play – almost an entire half of a scheduled 90-minute game.
Bookmakers Coral analysed 1,520 Premiership games between 2006 and 2017 to find out how much time is wasted per game.

They found nothing is actually happening for 42 per cent of every game.

And the shocking amount of dead ball time could get even worse if the controversial VAR – video assistant referee – is introduced.

Fans would have even more time-outs while the ref halts play to await analysis of video before making decisions.

With football governing body FIFA set to decide on March 16 if VAR is to be used in the World Cup in Russia this summer fans could be facing even more stoppage time.

In the Premiership the ref adds on an average of 6.4 minutes stoppage time per game – normally for injuries – but the game continually comes to a halt for many other reasons.

Researchers found in the 2016-17 season an average of 3.66 yellow cards were dished out per match – causing many minutes of stoppages per game.

Red cards were far less frequent – just 0.11 per game – and caused less dead ball time.

But 5.56 substitutions per game added significantly more minutes when fans have no action to watch.
Goals added more stoppage time with 2.8 scored per game and corners – 5.2 per game – and numerous throw-ins caused many more stoppages.

There are also 0.28 penalties per game and 0.88 set piece goals per game – all causing more stoppages.

Researchers from sports data specialists Opta, who carried out the research for Coral, found when Stoke played Watford at home in a 0-0 bore draw in January the ball was in play for just 42 minutes and eight seconds – less than half a 90-minute game.

But when Manchester City hosted Chelsea on March 3 the ball was in play for 68 minutes and 21 seconds meaning so some games can have 26 more minutes of real match time.

John Hill, PR Manager at Coral said: “Our research has found that over the last decade, football fans have been missing out on almost half of a match’s worth of game play, as we found that 42 per cent of a match is spent as dead ball time.

“With the introduction of VAR likely to mean even more time will be spent not watching play it seems like the beautiful game is set to become a little less attractive in the coming seasons.”

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