Howard Webb expects amount of stoppage-time to 'come down' in League One after admitting refs were 'eager' on opening EFL weekend
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Referees' chief Howard Webb expects the amount of stoppage-time added on at the end of games to ‘settle down’ in the coming weeks after admitting it was ‘excessive’ on the opening weekend of the EFL season.
FIFA and IFAB have set out new guidelines this season to ensure a more accurate calculation of addition time and also an improvement in the amount of time the ball is in play. That resulted in some late finishes when the new League One season kicked off on Saturday, none more so than at Sixfields where a remarkable 22 minutes of injury-time were added despite few notable stoppages.
Webb admits that was over the top and should not become the norm this season. Instead, he expects there to be two to three more minutes of stoppage-time on average once officials have got to grips with the new guidelines.
Speaking to Mark Chapman on BBC’s Daily Football podcast, Webb said: “I knew there would be more time added on just because of the new guidelines from IFAB and FIFA. There’s a more accurate calculation of time lost to goal celebrations and substitutions.
"The time between the ball hitting the back of the net and kick-off was 65 seconds on average last season. We used to use a rule of thumb of 30 seconds, and that was the same for substitutions, so we knew doing that more accurately would increase the amount of stoppage-time.
"I’m not here saying we want to put as many minutes on the board as possible because we know that’s not what people are asking for. They’re asking for a fairer calculation of time that’s lost. I was also keen to make sure officials were robust in dealing with time-wasting tactics by using yellow cards.
"I think the officials really took that forward at the weekend and they’ve added time on for goals, red cards and substitutions but also they’ve added time on for time-wasting tactics and we’re hoping that player behaviour will modify on the back of that.
"I think there will be a bit of settling down in terms of time added by the officials. They were pretty eager in that first week based on the strong message we gave them but I think it’ll come down and we’ll find a place where we get a fairer game without it being excessive.
"Last season an average of eight and half minutes were added across both halves in the Premier League. We estimate that will rise to about 11 and a half minutes based on the new methodology. There might be more in some games and less in others but it’ll depend on how things like goals and substitutions.
"We don’t anticipate that there will be 13,14 minutes of stoppage-time on a regular basis. That’s not our intention. If there’s a serious injury, we’ll add that time on, but we think it’ll settle down.”