Time-wasting or, “the dark arts” of managing a game to the final whistle, isn’t anything new. We see it most games when a team, occasionally us, are looking to protect a slender lead; all teams do it. What has begun to annoy me more and more over recent seasons is that the players’ are allowed to time-waste so flagrantly with perceivably little or no consequence.

Occasionally a ref will get fed up with a keeper taking too long over a goal kick and you’ll see a yellow card but what of the countless simulated injuries? The cramp in the 93rd minute, the histrionics following the minutest of contact, players clutching at limbs as if they were broken only to be miraculously healed of all ailments seconds later and the latest weapon in the time-wasters arsenal: the head injury. I fully appreciate that players do get cramp, they do get injured and the importance of properly assessing a head injury can not be overstated, but all the above are used ad nauseam by players looking to either run out the clock or, kill the opposition’s momentum when under pressure.

I suppose it comes down to the sub-standard officiating we see week in week out. If the referee enforced the law we wouldn’t see the game stopped for players with cramp, we’d see yellow cards for players kicking the ball away…etc etc. The reality is refs in the lower leagues are generally weak and players know it and exploit it.

I know the obvious response is “the time gets added on the end of the half/match” but I don’t want to see horrendous amounts of added time at the end of every match where we end up in reality of games lasting in excess of 100 minutes.

Short of discovering a colony of elite level referees I think there needs to be a change that allows the referees we have to easily enforce consequences that are significant enough to act as deterrent to would be time-wasters. Something like:

If the referee stops the game due to a player appearing to be injured that player must leave the pitch and not be allowed to re-enter the field for X number of minutes (3 minutes?); if the player leaves the field during added time they’re not allowed to re-enter at all. This can be managed by the 4th official so all the ref has to do is blow the whistle and instruct the player to leave the pitch. If they don’t want to go they get a yellow card.

Would be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas on this. Does time-wasting bother you as much as it does me? Have you got a better solution to make it easier for referees to prevent it from happening? Is it a problem at all? Have I really got nothing better to do than moan about it?!


When I saw time wasting, i thought is was going to be about most of the comments on this site :rofl::crazy_face:


Fully expect the mods to lock the topic due it being a waste of time :rofl:


The current favourite trick of players going down clutching their head (even if they havent been hit on the head) in order to get play stopped really gets my piss boiling.

Obviously a genuine head injury needs immediate attention but such an injury should result in a (say) 5 minute period of observation of the player off the pitch. This would mean genuine head injuries are treated with due care and also it would stop fake head injuries.


There are times when a player will go down holding his head only for him to change to holding his leg just to get the game stopped, i feel like if this happens the player should be booked.

On Tuesday, Danny Johnson went down with a head injury and the referee didn’t stop the game at all.

Yet their players were falling over with cramp and he stopped it every time.


The reason players do it and are presumably told to do it by managers is because historically the time has not been added on, so as a tactic it works, although it is horrible to watch. We seem to have had longer periods of added time in at least some games this season, so perhaps that is a sign that something might be getting done.

I would say every offence, whatever time of the game it is, should be a yellow card. As should kicking the ball away, and also standing over a free kick to stop it being taken. Lots of cards would be handed out and after a month or so the players would get the message and things would settle down.

Feigning injury is more difficult, but I agree with @tinned that any head “injury” should result in the player leaving the field for an independent concussion assessment.

The head injury as a tactic has been around a good while, I remember Blues doing it a lot when Trevor (I think it was him) was in charge which would have been late 90s or early noughties. I can’t remember it being a thing before the rules about injuries and treatment were changed. Which was post 1994 World Cup, possibly?

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annoys me if the opposition are doing it but fine if it’s us

Not for time wasting really, but bring the 10 min sin bin rule in.

Granted I’m playing Sunday league but our opponents last week had a player sent off for 10 mins for dissent, they were 3-0 up, we got it to 3-3 before he came back on then managed to win 5-4. Safe to say his teammates weren’t best pleased.

Imagine that in league football, fans would be fuming.

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Against Stevenage, the centre half and goalkeeper both went for a long ball and collided with each other, the ball dropped nicely for DJ to control and he had an empty net to shoot into but the immediate reaction on seeing the situation was for the centre half to drop to his knees, holding his head.
Not a big fan of time-wasting but I’ll never forget Craig Westcarr’s antics at the custard bowl when he was being substituted, still chuckle now at it.

I hate time-wasting. In addition to the reasons above, I think it both puts the teaming doing it into the wrong frame of mind - I have often seen clear goalscoring opportunities spurned in favour of the corner flag shenanigans - and it often is dangerous as it cedes the initiative to the other team.

We did it against Newport and Stevenage but Barrow did not do it against us. Newport were much more likely to have equalised then we were at Barrow and Stevenage did, as we allowed them to pump high balls into the area after we had given away any number of free-kicks.

Just play as normal to the end.


This is the crux of the issue, 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t get added on so they will carry on doing it. A goalkeeper can usually waste at least 3 or 4 minutes before he finally gets booked in the 89th minute too.

I agree . I don’t like it when we do it and I hate it when the opposition do it. On Tuesday the referee just turned his head away when Charlton were at it. Poor officiating.

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Got to say, time wasting boils my piss too, as can be vouched for by anyone within earshot of me in the lower tier block 2.
Having said that, the second half master class by Clayton Ince at Brighton to defend a one goal lead, when we were down to nine men, was nothing short of immense.
You see keepers going to ground now after taking a routine catch. Big Clayton, went to ground and added two commando rolls as well, just to eek a bit more time away. Classic!!

If a player gets injured, or even “injured”, anywhere other than in the penalty area, then let the game continue around them with the physio coming on to treat them like it does in Rugby League I think.

You then discount that player for offside purposes, but they still have to leave the field with the physio and have to be called back on by the referee at a natural stoppage in play just like now when a player goes off to be treated.

Yes there will be sometimes when there is a serious injury but generally if there is one the players nearby and the referee usually know straight away.

Not timewasting as such but I’ve always thought it an unfair and odd rule that if a player is genuinely fouled and has to go off for treatment then the team’s player who has been fouled is punished by being down to 10 players for a bit until he comes back on.

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I think only way to stop it is have another official who starts/stops the clock when it’s in and out of play like other sports.
It will stop the fake injuries and the time it takes for keeper to take a goal kick, in fairness we are as bad as others.

That addresses the time keeping aspect, although we could see some very long games, but it doesn’t prevent players dropping to the ground to break up play when under pressure.

At the moment I’m still leaning toward some sort of sin bin/player penalty to try and stop it outright.

I’d like to see the FA employ a system where there is retrospective action taken against players who are clearly seen to be cheating. Someone watches the game footage and submits any dubious/suspicious instances of players feigning injuries to a review panel who have the power to issue a ban to the player and/or fine to the club. It’s contentious because it’s down to the subjective opinion of those reviewing the footage but we’ve all seen instances where players are blatantly cheating in this respect such as @Bags10 mentions above.


Time wasting is just another way of playing footy. I understand it can be frustrating, but better would be learning how to waste time and never be caught for it. As long as the ball is active and played between defenders/midfielders in their own half, no one can say it is time wasting. It requires skill, as everything in football. Breaking an opponent’s time wasting requires it too, but no one ever said football is an easy game. Maybe easy to learn, but horribly hard to master. And worth to remember, it is fourth league level and probably very often, players are nearly totally spent way before the end. And part of this problem is because of it.

The professional game could well afford to have an independent time keeper for each game.

Linked to the scoreboard or stadium clock so everybody can see that time has indeed stopped and therefore no need to get antsy.

It’s got so bad I’d now advocate a sixty minute “ball in play” game of football where the time keeper stopped the clock every time the ball went dead. This would add between 5 and 10 minutes actual football to most games. I don’t know the stats for the EFL but in the EPL I think the ball was in play for only an average of 55 minutes per game last season.

This would then stop all the pissing about, trying to eek a few seconds here and there. With the clock visibly stopped until the ball becomes live again there would be absolute transparency and consistency - things currently missing.

It’s a lot worse this season. Think there were ten second half subs on Tuesday. Was like a friendly. Except our lads were sprinting off whilst there’s were dawdling. The one where the referee was in physical contact with the player’s back for half the journey back to the dugout whilst the player didn’t actually speed up his exit was one of particular note.


The Ref added 7 minutes on Tuesday. The game was stopped for 10 subs, and handful of cards, a genuine injury that used up a couple of minutes, as well as a couple of physio interventions for “cramp” and other life threatening emergencies.
All this alone accounted for more than seven minutes. In other words he added absolutely no time on for delaying goal kicks, kicking the ball away, and general robbing the spectators of their entertainment.
Also, hasn’t anyone in authority cottoned on yet that like on Tuesday it’s funny how the team who are winning seem to need the physio, and have all the head injuries? Despite Walsall being on the end of many more fouls than Charlton, I don’t recall seeing our physio on the pitch at all.
Just saying.


Made a miraculous recovery when the ref played on :wink:

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