Football

Football's rule-makers consider reducing game time to 60 minutes

World football's rule-makers are to consider a proposal to reduce each half of a game to 30 minutes in a bid to prevent time-wasting.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has outlined a raft of radical proposed changes to the rules of the game in a new strategy document titled Play Fair!.

Adopting two halves of 30 minutes with the clock stopped when the ball goes out of play is one of dozens of ideas put forward by IFAB in a bid to make football more attractive.

IFAB says the Fair Play! document has three aims - to improve player behaviour and increase respect, to increase playing time and to increase fairness and attractiveness.

"Many people are very frustrated that a typical 90-minute match has fewer than 60 minutes of effective (actual) playing time i.e. when the ball is in play," IFAB said in the document.

SPEED UP

"The strategy proposes measures to reduce time-wasting and 'speed up' the game."

IFAB said some of the proposals could be implemented immediately and require no law changes, while some are "ready for testing/experiments" and some are "for discussion".

Among the ideas up for discussion is that of a player being allowed to dribble from a free-kick, corner and goal-kick, a stadium clock which stops and starts along with the referee's watch, and allowing a goal-kick to be taken even if the ball is moving.

Other ideas up "for discussion" include referees blowing for half-time or full-time only when the ball goes out of play, and with players not allowed to follow up on rebounds during penalty kicks, so as to stop encroachment into the penalty area.

Plans which need no law changes mostly apply to IFAB's bid to combat time-wasting.

The document says match officials should be stricter on the rule which allows goalkeepers to hold the ball for six seconds.

The proposals already being tested include the idea of allowing only captains to speak to referees to prevent match officials being mobbed.

This is being trialled at the ongoing Confederations Cup in Russia.

Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola supports the proposal for 60-minute matches.

"I like this rule because there are so many teams who try to take advantage when they are winning and wasting time," he told the BBC. - PA SPORT

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