UEFA Criticizes Premier League’s New Added Time Rule Ahead of 2023/24 Season

UEFA Director of Football Calls the Premier League’s Approach to Added Time “Absurd”

Zvonimir Boban, UEFA’s director of football, has criticized the recent rule change in the Premier League regarding added time, labeling it as “absurd.” This change, which aligns with FIFA’s approach during the 2022 World Cup, has caused significant debate and may not be adopted in European competitions.

Starting with the 2023/24 season, the Premier League and the English Football League (EFL) have adopted a new method for calculating added time. Instead of a rough estimate, referees are now tasked with determining the exact time lost due to various stoppages, including goal celebrations, substitutions, injuries, penalties, and red cards. This change has led to an increase in the amount of stoppage time added to matches.

However, UEFA’s Zvonimir Boban has criticized this approach. He expressed concerns about player welfare and the physical toll the extended added time takes on athletes. Boban argued that these additional minutes, often added in the latter stages of matches when players are already fatigued, can be particularly challenging to endure.

He stated: “It’s absolutely absurd. Regarding player welfare, it’s some kind of small tragedy or big tragedy because we are adding almost 12, 13, 14 minutes, which are very tough minutes to play.”

Boban’s comments also highlighted the ongoing concerns about the football calendar and the strain it places on players and coaches, especially in leagues with a high number of matches like the Premier League. He emphasized the need to consider player feedback and maintain the integrity of the game.

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While the Premier League has implemented this rule change, Boban’s comments suggest that UEFA will not follow suit in its competitions, including the Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League. UEFA’s head of referees, Roberto Rosetti, added that the focus should not solely be on the accuracy of additional time but on maintaining the intensity and excitement of the game. UEFA has been working on this issue for over five years, with an emphasis on speeding up the restart of play rather than extending stoppage time.

The debate over added time rules in football continues, with various stakeholders expressing their opinions on how best to balance player welfare, competition fairness, and the enjoyment of the sport.

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