Arsenal opinion -Time wasting in football must be stamped out right now

A Gooners dislike of time wasted by the slowness and tedium of free kicks and throw ins that slow the game far too much. by Jon Fox

Who agrees with me that far too much time in the ninety minutes is wasted by tedious, slow throw ins and free kicks in DANGEROUS positions, which take FAR too long?

I am getting pretty cheesed off watching, esp. Ben White, take so long to throw the damned ball into play that I could grow a beard in the time he takes. And it’s not only him of course.  We fans are being taken for mugs by much of the deliberate stalling of play by the side without the ball, aided foolishly by the referee very often too. And often cheated by the side in possession too. I loathe all cheating and given my way, I would enforce such draconian punishments, that it would stop very soon. Or else clubs would lose banned players for such cheating as diving. A mandatory six Prem match ban and huge fine too for proven diving.  And if repeated then a twelve match mandatory ban. Proper deterrents work. But the problem we have in our corruptly run Prem and with FIFA, is that PROPER, REAL, DETERRENTS ARE NOT USED.

I have long been so frustrated by lack of action, while the clock ticks by and how the defending side, especially if leading, can effectively CHEAT the time the side chasing has, in which to equalise or catch up. That is IMO, unsporting behaviour and should be changed now, by a law change!

There is nothing so boring or calculated to make you shout out, even when watching on TV, in my case – that is how sad I can be -“get on with it, you*******!”

It cannot be fair, sporting or right to allow such awful time wasting, while the ref, idiots that many of them are – not cheats, but idiots- take  seemingly “half an hour” to use their shaving foam when marking out ten yards  and steal the whole scene for themselves instead of helping to speed up the game.

My solution would be a law change to limit the time allowed for an attacking side to throw the ball in at throw ins. Or better still, to make all throw ins become free kicks. It is, after all FOOTBALL, not handball, the keepers apart.  I’d suggest a maximum of   eight seconds from the player picking up the ball to it being kicked in. If he took longer, than it would be taken by the opposition from the same place, just as a foul throw is. A key change too would be to take the match timing OUT of the hands of the ref, who so commonly manipulates the final whistle in order to allow a corner kick, a dangerous free kick etc.

How often the ref blows for full time when a goal kick is in the air. THAT IS MANIPULATION OF FULL TIME AND IS CHEATING, IN MY BOOK. NINETY MINUTES SHOULD MEAN NINETY MINUTES, PLUS WHATEVER ACTUAL TIME is wasted, plus genuine injury time and proper subs times.  We should have a siren to sound full time, as in rugby. A ref has far too much else to look at than to also keep accurate ninety minute time. HE COULD HOWEVER COUNT SECONDS TO TAKE A KICK IN OR FREE KICK. That would not be beyond him.

Much of the ground stolen by the side taking the throw would be stopped, if it became a kick in instead.  There would be very much more goal mouth excitement too, as kicks go far further than throws and much time saved. But it would need to be backed up by strict enforcement of a limited time, enforced and strictly too by refs. And not this present meek acceptance of time wasting by players, fans and refs alike. This is wrong and MUST change!!​

I would get rid of the shaving foam farce, a stupid idea which takes FAR too much time to enforce. Instead, refs should use a mandatory yellow card for encroachment and if repeated, then a second yellow. AND AGAIN A STRICT TIME LIMIT FROM WHISTLING FOR THE FREE KICK TO IT BEING TAKEN. Some free kicks easily last a full minute or more. THIS IN A SCANDAL AND NOT NECESSARY AND IT SHORTCHANGES WE FANS.

Players would soon learn to comply, PROVIDED refs enforced this change and did it consistently.  I would demote all refs who did not enforce it and refs, as we know, are themselves marked for their performances.

None of these ideas are that revolutionary or new, but it seems there is a marked reluctance by those who make and enforce laws, to use them and to use proper deterrents too. Why???

It must change and change very soon, like next summer at the latest. It is time all types of cheating were brought to book.

Football could be forced into being honest.


How much more enjoyable and wholesome our worldwide game could and should be.  I’d love you to read your own ideas and thoughts, my fellow Gooners.


Jon Fox

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  1. I bet the officials have been trying to minimize time wasting, while still trying to be fair. I think they’d eventually find a good solution in the future, as the technology improves

    1. In my opinion, time wasting is part of the game especially when you are on the winning team. If fevery aspect of football is made computerised then the feel factor is lost. A team can waste time technically by passing the ball around and no referee can issue a card on that bcos much management is allowed in football.

  2. Just have a stop watch. Press the stop button when there is a team wasting time and at the end of the 90 minutes add that time onto the stoppage time..

    1. I reckon if all the wasted time and injury time was added on every game would last an extra 15 minutes minimum, very likely a lot more. No, the best idea is to cut out time wasting like when Ramsdale takes so long to take a goal kick and what happened to the 5 second rule that keepers were only allowed to hold the ball for? Don’t get me started on players taking the ball into the opposition’s corner, winning a corner and then doing exactly the same thing, it really grinds my gears!

    2. Most American sport is played like this and why football not picked up on it yet baffles me…..Anytime the balls out of play you stop the clock. One wouldn’t even need injury time

  3. I respect your opinion but I rather hope we don’t complicate the game through excess rules or laws. I suppose that the addition of your suggestions will only make the game less interesting, in actual fact. Let’s live by what we already have, with no further adjustments or additions to the rules guarding our football. What you dont know is that, the players sometimes use those periods (Goalkicks, Free kicks, Corner kicks, Throw-ins) to have themselves some rest and yeah to waste time, obviously. But, the aspect of time wasting has been settled in my opinion, as it is within the ref’s discretion to ditch out yellow card to any player, guilty of time wasting. So, what I rather you say is that referee should start being mindful of the time wasting aspect of the game.

  4. Jon are there really laws governing time wasting? Refs usually dish yellow cards when they think a player has taken too long on a free kick, surely they do know the amount of time it should take for a free kick to be taken. Id though suggest for a player deemed to be time wasting to stay out of the game for 5-7 minutes, that way it directly impacts their play.

  5. I,m pretty sure most football fans share your frustrations Jon.The problem is galvanizing the “authorities” into doing something about it ,and as we all know, they are a law into themselves and the feelings of fans has never been high on their agenda.Like many others have suggested over the years, the first step towards sorting out this growing problem would be the introduction of a stop clock in line with the systems used in both codes of Rugby.The clock would be stopped by an independent official in the event of injuries, substitutions , and if necessary at free kick and corners.As you alluded to referees would no longer have responsibility for time keeping and the game would be over on the sound of a horn after 90 mins of actual playing time.My pet hate surrounds the blatant fouling which takes place in the goalmouth area prior to corner kicks in particular.To help referees in this regard a change in the rules is required which would preclude any attacking player from entering the six yard box until the corner kick is actually taken.Goalkeepers are being taken out of the game by blatant blocks which referees seem to be oblivious to and shirt pulling has become the acceptable norm i,m afraid.For the good of the game, changes are definitely required.

    1. Grandad A heartening post! I SHOULD have mentioned your comment about no attackers being allowed inside six yard box, UNTIL a corner is kicked.

      It is not a new idea, though it is a good one. Something needs to be done and done properly, to stop fans being short changed by constant time wasting and cheating.

      We all know that most games have the ball in play for between only 50-60 minutes So over half an hour is being cheated from us. UNACCEPTABLE!!

      So as ever, I BELIEVE IN FIGHTING FOR MUCH NEEDED CHANGE. The change could be easily done IF ONLY there was the will. But as we know , there is not. SIGH!

  6. Time wasting is annoying to me too. Maybe stricter measures will be taken in the future, for now, Refs have the perogative.
    Arsenal have never been good with attacking and defending throw-ins anyway, we take ages and still mess up.

  7. i could be wrong but i do not think that time wasting is such a problem these days.yes it may be frustrating and disrupting the rhythm of the game but most referees add time for time wasting,injuries,very slow substitutions’… and they even give cards.we are talking about seconds,a minute max for time really wasted by game.

    1. Siamois Do you even know that in almost every game the ball is live for less than 60 minutes out of ninety. Often as low as 52 mins.

      And yet, you mention a “max of one minute” Boy, are you out of touch with all reality!!
      Did you even read the full article PROPERLY? I THINK YOU CANNOT HAVE DONE!

  8. I agree that time wasting is cheating and eventually should be dealt with but not yet. Other aspects of footballers cheating should be dealt with first.
    First example of this is ever since the concussion rule has come in players use this to their advantage by claiming head injuries (despite taking a knock on their toe) to get the game stopped if it suits their teams need. This is a disgrace and could be stopped tomorrow if every player who claimed a head injury had to leave the field for example for 4-5 mins to be assessed by a doc as mandatory.
    This would solve the problem over night.
    Then we would move on to the next problem and tackle each one with simple measures to punish those who seek to exploit the good nature of these rules that are often put in place for player welfare and honest sportsmanship.

  9. A good article Jon, giving ibe food for thought.
    I believe that AW has already suggested that throw ins become free kicks, as there is really NO advantage to the side awarded the throw in.

    I was hauled over the coals when I refereed a semi final, by using my stop watch at every opportunity and chalking up an extra 14 minutes of play.
    During that time, a goalkeeper was badly injured (another 5 minutes to add on!!) and the away team scored the winning goal – I’ll leave you to imagine the abuse that followed from the crowd and the referees association. Not long after, I gave up refereeing.

    There is no real way to stop time wasting, no matter what rules are brought in, as someone with a stop watch might not deem a incident in the same way as another individual.

  10. Am also tired of the time-wasting, especially Ramsdale’s shenanigans. With basketball the rules are more strict, you waste time you hand over the ball to the opposition. That said, sometimes it can be hard to tell whether time-wasting is a genuine tactic to force the opposition out or it’s just about killing time. If we ban time wasting, what about teams that just sit back the whole game and attack on the counter? It’s frustrating when only 1 team is trying to play and I think that should be banned too! OT: where did @Sue go?

  11. Is it a rocket science? Use basketball rule. Any time ball out of play, hit stop watch. After diving, treatment, ball goes out sidelines, press stop watch. When play resumes, start stop watch. Whistle at full 90 minutes att stop watch

  12. There has been talk of instead of 90 minute games make them 80 min and clock stops every time a ball goes out. Another is to get rid of throws in and replace them with a kick. 3 seconds to kick it or other team gets the ball.
    The new coach for the Australian Matilda’s first move was not just stop time wasting with throw ins,goal kicks etc but stop the stupid passing from fullback to fullback and back 10 times. When he took over he watched previous games and saw that all the time they wasted could have been better utilized getting a draw or a win.

    1. Pdeter AGREED! This stupid constant passing across the defence, instead of having the bravery to get the ball quickly into the feet of creative midfield folk, the Odegaards, Fodens and Modrics of the game, is a constant irritant and a real time wasting turn off.

      For me and I reckon for almost all of us, anything that can speed up passing and get the ball quickly into those who can create or score HAS to be agood. There was nothing I found MORE boring than the days then Mertesacker and Koscielny wouldpass the ball back and forth to each other, while I could have grown a beard in the time it took to get that ball forward.

      PACE ENERGY AND GOALMOUTH INCIDENT is what the game needs FAR MORE OF. And a cutting out of boring “go nowhere” ball passing between defenders.

  13. i have to say that our own arsenal are pretty good at the time wasting tactics,unfortunately, i hate it, it is definately cheating. how many times has ramsdale gone down with an injury problem, and, normally, this happens with five minutes left, he is very unfortunate that he always seems to get the same knock at the same time in matches.JON, i do hope that you reckonise this fact,and knowing you as i do from being on here i am certain that you too would castigate our very own time wasters.

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