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The Richard Lee column: Time is of the essence

As a game I was playing in was drawing to a close, my outfield team-mates held the ball in the far corner of the field, using a common method of running out time.

A random thought entered my head and it has become a minor obsession ever since.

I personally don’t agree with the current method used to time football and I’ll tell you my adaption which I believe will enhance the game.

Put quite simply, I believe we should play to a stop-clock. Every time the ball leaves the field of play the clock would be stopped and restarted the instant it re-enters play.

25 minutes each way

Ninety minutes would be too long if this was the case so I would suggest a 50-minute game (25 mins each way). I say 50 mins as this is the average time the ball is in play in a typical Championship game.

The idea wouldn’t change the game too much as games that kick-off at 3pm would still finish at around 4.45pm.

The big difference would be that there would be no argument as to how much added time there should be or complaints of time-wasting. A lot of the current methods used to run out time would still be used but with a much more accurate method.

It confuses me slightly that two games can be played, one where the ball is in play for 65 minutes and the next where it’s in play for 45 minutes, surely that can’t be right?

Imagine the excitement as your team holds a 1-0 lead and there are 30 seconds left on the clock, I’m sure the last 10 seconds would possibly even draw a countdown from the fans followed by celebration. Or another scenario of a team scoring with only two seconds left on the clock, imagine the elation/dejection.

Tradition

I can’t imagine this would take too much effort to introduce; I am though fully aware that having 90-minute games is tradition so the likelihood of this actually happening is, at best, unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Admittedly I do watch a lot of American sports which is a big reason as to why I'm in favour of a stop-clock. I’m sure we’ve all seen footage of Michael Jordan sinking a basket in the final seconds to claim a victory and seeing the arena erupt. It’s thrilling.

It may be a case that this set-up is only possible in the top couple of leagues to begin with as I couldn’t imagine Sunday league teams or even teams in the lower leagues being able to afford the technology needed to create this. Although a stop watch could suffice.

I have no doubt that this idea has been suggested before and I’d be fascinated to know the reasons it was rejected or why the 90 minute game is seen as preferable.

By Richard Lee, Brentford keeper


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