What is Stoppage Time in Soccer?: Laws of the Game

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What are the stoppage time soccer rules? The beautiful game of soccer is played with regulation time that runs for 90 minutes, plus injury time, also called stoppage time, as well as a 15 minute halftime break in between.

Matches that need clear winners and cannot end in a draw can also go into extra time and a penalty shootout to determine the winner. Soccer is played with a running clock that counts upwards and there are two 45 minute halves plus stoppage time that is added on by the referee.

Stoppage time can also be referred to as injury time, added time, or additional time, and it is the time that is added on to the end of a half to make up for any lost time during gameplay. In this blog, I will explain everything you need to know about one of the most basic but important soccer rules, stoppage time.

What is Stoppage Time in Soccer?

Most people know that a soccer game is 90 minutes long and is made up of two 45 minute halves. But most people may not know that soccer has stoppage time that is added at the end of each half on top of the 45 minutes.

Unlike sports such as American Football, where ‘stop clock’ rules apply and play pauses for interruptions, soccer adopts a more fluid approach with its continuous running clock. This means that the clock does not stop during events when the ball is not in play.

However, these lost minutes are not ignored because the referee also keeps track of this lost time and adds it on once the timer hits 45 minutes as stoppage time. Usually the referee will notify the fourth official about how much stoppage time will be added and the fourth official then holds up the amount of stoppage time on an electronic board.

Stoppage time is usually anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes, but if the referee feels that there was no lost time there may not be any stoppage time, but that is almost never the case. Stoppage time is also added on to each half of extra time.

How is Stoppage Time Calculated in a Soccer Match?

Stoppage time is calculated by the center referee, or head referee, who keeps track of wasted time during the following activities.

  • When a team makes a substitution
  • When a player gets fouled and/or injured as well as the time for injury treatment
  • During Video Assistant Referee checks
  • When a player is getting a yellow or a red card
  • Time wasting during penalty kicks, free kicks, goal kicks, and throw-ins
  • Goal celebrations after a team scores a goal
  • Other delays such as light malfunctions, stadium interruptions, etc.

How do you locate the Stoppage time of a game that is being played on Television Broadcasts?

Depending on the game you are watching you will usually have to check the upper left part of the television, where the time, team names, and scores are located. Once the game reaches the 45th minute mark, or the 90th minute mark, you will see a (+) sign with a number. The number next to the (+) sign is how much time has been added as stoppage time.

What is the usual stoppage time that is added on to a game?

How much stoppage time is added to the first and second halves, as well as the extra time halves, is going to depend on how much time the center referee believes was lost during actual game play.

Usually a standard soccer match will have about five or six minutes of stoppage time at the end of each half, but that number can vary. Some games may only have one minute of stoppage time while others have so much stoppage time that the game reaches the 100th minute mark.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is stoppage time added during FIFA World Cup Soccer Matches?

Stoppage time during a FIFA World Cup Soccer Match is added in the same way as during any other soccer match, such as a Premier League or Champions League game. The head referee takes note of how much time lost occurred during the match and that time is then added on as added time. If the match goes into extra time, both halves also get added stoppage time.

During the last World Cup in Qatar there were a lot of instance where teams got up to 10 minutes of stoppage time.

What is the longest stoppage time for a professional club in the history of the beautiful game?

The longest stoppage time in the history of the beautiful game was recently in a match that took place in Mexico’s top league, the Liga MX, between Cruz Azul and Leon. The game had an additional time of 32 minutes.


In conclusion, understanding the soccer stoppage time rules is important for understanding the format of a soccer game as well as the game’s most important rules and regulations. In this blog, I covered everything you need to know about the soccer stoppage time rules.

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