The Duration of a Football Match: Exploring the Length Including Half Time


Football, the beautiful game, is renowned for its intense battles, breathtaking goals, and passionate fans. But have you ever wondered how long a football match actually lasts? In this article, we will delve into the duration of a football match, including the halftime break, and explore the factors that can influence its length.

The Standard Duration

According to the official Laws of the Game set by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), a regulation football match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes. Hence, the standard duration of a football match is 90 minutes. However, this duration can be extended due to various factors.

Half Time

After the first half of the match, there is a halftime break. The duration of this break is typically 15 minutes, although it can vary depending on the competition or tournament. During this break, players have the opportunity to rest, rehydrate, and receive tactical instructions from their coaches.

Injury Time

Injury time, also known as stoppage time or added time, is an additional period at the end of each half. It is added by the referee to compensate for any time lost due to injuries, substitutions, or other interruptions during the game. The duration of injury time is announced by the fourth official towards the end of each half.


Factors Affecting Match Duration

While the standard duration of a football match is 90 minutes, several factors can influence its length:

  • Injuries: If a player sustains a serious injury during the match, the referee may add extra time to account for the stoppage.
  • Substitutions: When a substitution occurs, the referee may add a few seconds or minutes to the match to compensate for the time taken for the substitution process.
  • Goal Celebrations: Excessive goal celebrations by players, such as removing their shirts, can lead to additional time being added by the referee.
  • Time-wasting Tactics: Players intentionally wasting time, such as deliberately taking longer to take a free-kick or a throw-in, can result in the referee extending the match duration.

Extra Time and Penalties

In knockout competitions or cup matches, if the score is tied at the end of the standard 90 minutes, the match may proceed to extra time. Extra time consists of two halves of 15 minutes each. If the score remains level after extra time, the match might be decided by a penalty shootout, which can further extend the duration of the game.


A football match typically lasts for 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each, with a halftime break of 15 minutes. However, various factors such as injury time, substitutions, and time-wasting tactics can influence the overall duration. In knockout competitions, extra time and penalties may be required to determine the winner. So, the next time you settle down to watch a football match, remember that the game’s length can be fluid and unpredictable.

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